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A Man of Many Talents

posted Nov 20, 2014, 10:38 AM by Unknown user
Morgan Drake

Math isn’t the only thing you should expect to learn when walking into Mr. Rader’s classroom. Stories of javelins, blizzards, and college professors are an essential...and yes, math too. This year marks his 35th and final year of teaching at Van Buren. He teaches pre calculus, senior advanced math, senior college review math, and integrated algebra 1.

His talents don’t end at math though, he has many others as well. Mr. Rader has his auctioneering license and his real estate license. He has also performed appraisals and dowses wells with his wife. While most students are aware of Mr. Rader’s skills in auctioneering and real estate, many aren’t aware of his well dowsing job.

“One of the jobs my wife and I do, we dowse wells, which means we go with a stick in our hand out through their yard and when it pulls down we locate water underneath the ground, and that makes absolutely no mathematical sense. My wife is a math professor,

and it makes no mathematical sense to either one of us.” Despite the lack of mathematical sense, he and his wife have made a part time job out of it,

“We have done probably close to 850 wells where people call us. We’ve been flown by airplane, we’ve been all over the place. We’ve been to Pennsylvania, Indiana, of course Ohio a lot and we’ve had calls to Michigan.”

Another thing students might not know about Mr. Rader is that of his 35 years of teaching, he spent a year and a half as Van Buren’s guidance counselor. He also was extremely active in coaching.

“I’ve coached varsity football, I’ve coached varsity wrestling, I’ve coached varsity track and field, I’ve coached junior high track, and I’ve coached junior high girl’s basketball...and one year of JV volleyball,” he recalls. What makes this man of many traits choose teaching above all of his other talents? When asked what his favorite thing about being a teacher was, he immediately responded,

“Watching you guys grow up and making better decisions as you get older, that’s my favorite thing.”

Mr. Rader has a wide variety of options after retirement, but he has one plan for sure,

“My first plan is to take my family and go to Alaska, and after two weeks, send my kids home and my wife and I stay and cruise the Alaskan panhandle for another week. That’s my first plan.” And his second?

“I don’t know for sure, I’ve got a couple options open.” He’s been asked to be a bookkeeper and a handyman. He also might return to education,

“I have been kicking around the idea of maybe being an adjunct professor somewhere.”

After 35 years of teaching at Van Buren, a lot of crazy and memorable moments stick out to Mr. Rader. One of his most memorable moments involved the Black Knight football team not only making the playoffs, but winning a playoff game for the first time in school history,

“Well, one is watching these guys play football in week 12. Especially being an old football coach and knowing the history we had getting things rolling. Mr. Masters and I came the same year and I coached with him and I’d have to say getting things rolling is near the top.” He also adds that the track team making it to state is high up on his list, explaining that he loves watching those athletes perform. Track is also involved in his craziest moments, as he laughs telling the story of a pole vaulter that missed the pit entirely, but managed to not get hurt. Another moment he thought was hilarious involved snow angels.

“I had one student that wanted to do snow angels out on the roof, so I waited until he brought his brand new jacket to school and did snow angels so it ruined his jacket...his mom wasn’t too happy about that,” he says with a smile. As fun as it may sound, don’t expect him to let anyone else make the venture out on the roof,

“Just one, I’ve only let one kid go out there...but he had a new jacket on so it seemed like the right thing to do.”

If you ask students who their favorite teacher is, you can expect a lot of their answers to be Mr. Rader. Not only is he a great teacher, but a role model. He teaches in a way that prepares you for college, but he still manages to make it fun. When asked what he’ll miss the most about teaching, Mr. Rader stated,

“What I think I’ll miss the most is you guys...interacting with you guys and just kind of laughing with you guys. I just really enjoy a classroom that’s got personality. I’ll really miss that.”