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Patrick Turner

Patrick Turner

Science Faculty

 

The son of two educators, Patrick “Patch” Turner fell in love with the world of education. While he originally joined community organizations to get some space from his parents at home, his engagement with the Boy Scouts showed him how much he loved getting to know new people, and eventually, how much he loved working with youth.

After attending public school in his native Charlottesville, Virginia, Patrick attended the University of Virginia to study science and history. He always was drawn to the solid answers math and science could provide, but knew he soon figured out that he did not want to become a theoretical physicist because the solid answers were not there (yet).. He also loved to learn how and why things work, and always enjoyed the ‘a-ha’ moment. So, instead of entering the professional world as a scientist, he followed his passion for people and went to work in education at a therapeutic boarding school for struggling students. 

“The first half of my career in education revolved around at-risk youth, and those coming back from some sort of trauma or in need of special help,” explains Patrick. “In those institutions, the classroom curriculum really was secondary to getting students the support and guidance they needed to grow into self-sufficient, healthy adults.”

Through his work, Patrick came to realize that monumental in education is the ability to build relationships with students and to earn trust. And, while not every student will connect with every teacher, he says he has truly enjoyed forming relationships with a few along the way that he has remained in touch with long enough to learn of graduations, weddings, and family additions. 

Patrick’s first experience with older high school students in a stronger academic setting was at the Florida Preparatory Academy. There, he was able to pair another interest—travel—with his career in education by introducing international trips to the school’s curriculum. 

“When I was in school, I felt like I learned more outside of the classroom than in it—the world is a great place to explore and discover new things,” he says. “On top of boarding schools being environments in which faculty/student relationships are paramount, I also enjoy being able to own the curriculum and bring real-world experiences to my lessons.”

At Avon, Patrick teaches honors and AP Physics and lives on campus in The Coop. Inside the classroom, he focuses not only on the curriculum, but on critical thinking skills. He starts days with brain teasers, logic puzzles, and even national headlines and challenges his students to determine if something is ‘click-bait’ or a real news headline.

“What is most rewarding about being a teacher is seeing a student take not only the knowledge they’ve gained in your classroom out into the world, but also the skills and confidence in themselves to dig in and find their own answer. Seeing a young person flourish intellectually is what it’s all about. I’m not just teaching science, I’m teaching students to question the world around them.”

 

FUN FACTS:

  • Patrick has travelled with student groups to: Italy, Spain, Costa Rica, and the United Kingdom.
  • Building on his experience and values from the Boy Scouts, Patrick became a search & rescuer with the Blue Ridge Mountain Rescue Group, a part of the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference.
  • Patrick has been skydiving—twice!