Teacher’s goal to make school fun for students


Mr. Matt Clark, math, is with his whiteboard, where he takes a daily poll on a “Would you rather” question.

Eighteen years later Mr. Matt Clark stands lecturing in front of hundreds of different students, while this is the last place he imagined himself, there he is living for the idea of helping students everyday. 

Clark dreamed of becoming a baseball coach, and he figured the easiest way to coach was to become a teacher and coach for the school.

It wasn’t long after becoming a teacher that he realized how much he loved it. He found that being a teacher was about much more than lecturing and handing out tests. Clark became a safe space for many students and desired to provide consistency for them and a place that was full of laughter and kindness. 

Not that I didn’t love coaching baseball, but I appreciated the different students that would come into my classroom and need someone to be their person,” Clark said.

In the beginning of Clark’s teaching career, he had students that didn’t have great home lives. He learned that some were involved in gangs, homeless, and have been to several high schools. He wanted to be their person, their encouragement, and their support system. 

Clark has been a teacher for 18 years, the first 15 spent at Plainfield Central and since then at MCHS. It was difficult for Clark to leave Plainfield Central because he spent years forming relationships with the students and staff there, where he also met his wife. However, he was excited to start a new journey and is also looking forward to seeing some of his family walking the halls some day. The last three years he has been trying to impact students here at MCHS and hopes to be the best teacher he can be. 

“I don’t think I’m any more memorable than any other teacher.  I want the students to know that I love this job and I hope that is reflected in my interactions with them, my demeanor, and my attitude,” Clark said. 

He teaches, Algebra 2, Transition Math, Trigonometry, and Intro to Statistics at MCHS. 

“When you’re having fun doing something, the enjoyment should spread to others.  Very few students truly find math fun.  It’s my job to let them know that we can have a good time and get things accomplished with smiles on our faces.  If the students buy what I’m selling, we all win,” Clark said. 

Something Clark has recently invested in that makes him stand out as a teacher and class a little more interesting, is a TV and a whiteboard. It doesn’t sound like much, but has been impacting students in class and in the hallways. 

He always wanted a message board around his classroom to announce classroom items like assessments, holidays, and birthdays. When he found a TV for cheap on Facebook, he decided to install it above the door of his classroom and out of a slideshow with interesting facts for the day. He also started a would you rather question on a whiteboard outside his classroom. It started with a student asking him if it was too early to play Christmas music in November and he wanted everyone to vote. Since then it has been a hit in the math hallway and students look forward to voting everyday, and Clark has made a positive impact on many at MCHS. 

“The students love Mr. Clark because of the creative ways he engages and connects with them whether it be dressing up as a character or having a conversation with them about how the game went last night.  The “would you rather” questions have definitely helped facilitate that,” Ms. Jennifer Hanson, math teacher, said.


*This story was originally published in the March 16, 2022 issue of Nook News