Tulsa, OK – In a rare move Thursday, National Teacher of the Year, Michael Geisen, was allowed to interact with actual public school students. Witnesses report seeing brief conversations and even physical contact such as handshakes and pats on backs. There were no injuries, but students were advised to have their doctor or psychiatrist evaluate them for unseen damage.
In a break with protocol, Geisen, 35, eschewed his position at the reserved table and instead sat with a group of 6th grade students who had come to hear him speak. Lunch consisted of pasta, salad and bread.
“We took a big risk inviting adolescents to a celebration of learning,” remarked Dr. Debbie Landry of Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. “But it seemed to pay off, as there were no major incidents.”
When asked to comment on Geisen’s interactions, Dr. Landry was pleased. “We had interpreters on hand, but Mike seemed to speak their language, and understand them, as well.”
“I was a bit nervous about it,” admits Geisen, who is on a yearlong sabbatical as a spokesperson for education. “But I guess it’s a bit like riding a bike. It comes back to you when you need it.”
Geisen is at home in central Oregon for the next day, recuperating with his family. He will resume his travels on Saturday.