Monday, Jun 25, 2018
One of America's Great Newspapers ~ Toledo, Ohio


Teacher of the month: Michael Punsalan

Whitmer High School


Michael Punsalan


Mr. Punsalan is an outstanding social studies teacher. When his peers think of him they often think of a quote by William Arthur Ward, "A mediocre teacher tells; the good teacher explains; the superior teacher demonstrates; the great teacher inspires." Mr. Punsalan truly inspires students everyday in his World War II classes.

Although his curriculum is college prep and very rigorous, students cannot wait to take his course and there are times students have been turned away due to the number of requests for his classes. His classes consistently feature "non-school day" field trips with high student participation to visit museums, perform re-enactments and experience diverse culture.

His students have also had the privilege to actually meet and greet historical legends like D-Day and Iwo Jima veterans, Holocaust survivors, legendary B-17 bombings crews, the Tuskegee Airmen, the surviving Doolittle Raiders and even WWII German U-Boat engineers. All of these fantastic experiences are organized by Mr. Punsalan to bring history alive for his students.

Mr. Punsalan serves as the advisor for Social Studies Club which has performed community service and raised money for the Social Studies Scholarship Fund. He is also the committee chair for the scholarship committee and a member of the Professional Learning Committee.

Mr. Punsalan is very talented in the area of video and technology. He was the director of the Whitmer Film Project that was a collaboration between staff, students, alumni and parents which resulted in numerous successful online videos as well as an official film entry in the first annual Tree City Film Festival 2013. The film earned 3 film awards for their short film "Love on Hold."

Mr. Punsalan has also directed and produced several promotional TV commercials for Washington Local Schools and the Whitmer Athletic Department. Other videos he has done include a Veteran's Day Remembrance, the Infinite Opportunity Olympics and various others that serve to promote Whitmer High School.

"The Level of dedication and commitment that Mr. Punsalan displays for his students and content area are second to none," said the Whitmer High School Administrative Team. "When thinking of a quote to describe Mr. Punsalan, thought it was best said by a message left by one of his student's parents. The message was as follows: ‘My daughter is not much for school. She has struggles and historically has not done well. Mr. Punsalan's class makes her want to do better. She is into the class and it is evident when I met Mr. Punsalan that he is passionate about what he does. Mr. Punsalan has really gotten through to my daughter. I am forever thankful. He is an AWESOME teacher."

— Information is compiled for The Blade by the Educational Service Center of Lake Erie West.

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