By Abby Van Duyn, ’24
Mr. Wheeler is a 6th grade Math and Social Studies teacher at Hanover Middle School who has been teaching for 21 years. When he was in school, Mr. Wheeler saw how important teachers could be in the lives of students. He chose this career because he wanted to be the type of teacher that inspired students to do and be their best.
“When I went through school, I felt that many teachers just went through the motions and did not take advantage of the opportunity to be a positive role model for their students,” he said. “I felt if I became a teacher, I could be a positive role model for students and motivate them to work hard at any type of goals.”
Mr. Wheeler’s inspiration also stemmed from a positive experience with one of his teachers named John Hopkins, a longtime Hanover English teacher who retired just a few years ago. “He was so passionate about teaching and he was great at making connections with students,” Mr. Wheeler explained.
Mr. Wheeler is famous at HMS for having a strong and unified homeroom and for bringing all of his students together throughout the year. Being part of “Wheeler Nation” is a special experience where everyone is inspired and connected. For students who are lucky enough to go to Camp Squanto as a part of Mr. Wheeler’s homeroom, it’s often a highlight of their four years at HMS.
“Some of my favorite memories about teaching are setting high expectations for my students and seeing them reach those goals later on in the year,” he said. He also loves “witnessing my homeroom students work together and come together like a big family.”
Mr. Wheeler has not always taught 6th grade in Hanover. In his earlier years, he taught one year in Hingham as well as the 5th grade at HMS. In addition, he started out as an English teacher in his first year at HMS and then switched to teaching Math.
Throughout his years of teaching 6th grade, he has grown to love the age of the students.
“They are still young enough that you can still spark the majority of the students to be invested in their education and have them engaged in whatever crazy lessons I have planned,” he said. “In addition, they are mature enough to work independently on many things.”
As we all know, this year has been extra challenging for teachers and students because of Covid-19. When asked how it impacted him, Mr. Wheeler said, “With the start of COVID, I have learned more about technology in one year than I had in the previous five years.” He’s also had to modify many of his projects.
Although it might seem that Mr. Wheeler is always working on plans for his students, he has a life and family outside of school too. When the school day is over, Mr. Wheeler enjoys playing basketball and skiing. He describes himself as a big sports fan and enjoys doing anything outside and taking vacations with his family.