Award-Winning Teacher Connects Students To Physics
Souhegan physics teacher Bob Rotier received the NH Air Force Association Norman "Bud" Fortier Teacher of the Year award.
One educator at Souhegan High School wants his students to know that if they don’t succeed, they should always try, try again.
It is this philosophy and a focus on fun, hands-on projects that has given physics teacher Bob Rotier a “teacher of the year” award in science this year.
Rotier recently received the NH Air Force Association Norman "Bud" Fortier Teacher of the Year award for “continued dedication and commitment to both Aerospace Education and children.”
“I want to share my passion of engineering and how things work,” said Rotier. “I like to inspire students to go on and explore those kinds of career opportunities.”
He has been teaching at Souhegan for 10 years after working as an engineer at multiple companies. This educator will shy away from just teaching theory in physics, preferring instead to give students a thrill by actually letting them find out for themselves.
Projects like engineering bottle rockets to fly farther, optimizing gliders made out of foam trays and even building an electric powered airplane challenge his students to succeed. Most of his projects are graded competitions that encourage them to push their learning to another level.
“Try it out,” Rotier tells his students. “I’m not going to let you down a path to failure, but want you to explore a path of 'I don’t know it might work.' I’m there for you if it doesn’t work.”
These creative competitions are lead alongside co-teacher Paul Schlotman, who Rotier says is instrumental to the success of the class. Every new project is a learning process for both the students and teachers as they discover new and interesting ways to overcome challenges.
“The kids come up with ideas that I never would have thought about,” said Rotier.
His favorite project has students design a car that can drive around a basketball court and shoot ping pong balls into baskets without a remote control. He also likes to have students design amusement park rides to combine both creative and engineering skills.
Rotier is also proud of the fact that students break school records every year, and happy to hear that many students speak highly of his classes.
There is one winner chosen per NH AFA chapter each year, which in New Hampshire means he was the only one honored in the state. He is also eligible to be awarded at the national level, where there is only one winner.
“I was pleased just to get nominated,” said Rotier. “I’m just doing my job on a day-to-day basis, but having this external recognition is kind of a nice feeling.”