Teacher’s expectations hold students to high standards

Sara Naatz, Managing Editor


A red light looms overhead.

You see the sign — no U-turns.

The green left-turn arrow flickers on.

You glance around cautiously to check for cops.

None in sight.

You slowly snake around the median into an almost-graceful U-turn.

In a second it’s over  — no penalty, no harm done.

No big deal.

Mark Mosier, art department chair and Kansas Student Council Advisor of the Year, said he often uses scenarios like this when talking to his students about the differences between right and wrong.

Mosier said he wants to inspire his students to consider what they do when no one else is looking.

“I think a sense of ethics is important — that you develop a sense of right and wrong,” he said. “Do you do the right thing if no one will find out? Do you help somebody else? Spend time with a charity even if no one is going to know you did it? To me, what you do when no one else knows is the true mark of who you are. Just because you can get away with something does not mean it’s right.”

Student Council secretary, senior Shelby Wallace, said Mosier teaches lessons that will help everyone later on in life.

“What I like best about him are his words of wisdom,” she said. “In StuCo we always have a Mosier minute, and he opens our eyes to not only our friends and our life but to everyone else.”

Mosier said he pushes his students not only to do the right thing, but to go beyond expectations.

“It makes me frustrated when I see students who don’t take advantage of opportunities,” he said.  “We have so many opportunities today to do so many different things, whether it’s in this room or whether it’s art or technology or whatever. You don’t have to be 24 hours a day on the go, but I think to not be willing to try new things or use resources can be pretty frustrating. A missed opportunity is difficult to recapture.”

Michael Johnston, photography teacher and Mosier’s friend, said Mosier’s high expectation of students causes them to try new things.

“He has a way of forcing students to think for themselves,” Johnston said. “Part of that is high expectations and part of that is really pushing them to do a little exploration on their own. He does a good job of forcing students to do a little of their own investigation and their own learning.”

After working at BV as an art teacher for only a year, Mosier became assistant StuCo sponsor in 1988. A year later, he decided to step up and become full-time sponsor.

“It initially appealed to me because, after a year or two of teaching here, I saw that a large number of very strong students didn’t necessarily take art at that time,” he said. “I wanted to get to know those people, and I was relatively new to the building.”

Mosier said his job is to oversee StuCo from an adult perspective as well as to help the students learn more about leadership.

“Leadership is just one of those general terms that people kind of throw around,” he said. “I think [being in StuCo] is an opportunity to have experiences that show you the value of good leadership or maybe experiences that show lack of or bad leadership.”

Wallace said Mosier helps make sure that all events for StuCo turn out well.

She said he often sends e-mail reminders to check up on their progress.

“He really cares that we succeed,” she said. “He’s a positive influence on everyone in StuCo. He wants what’s best for you, for the community and for the high school.”

Johnston said Mosier’s personable nature causes him to interact well with his students.

“He pushes kids to do more than they would have or could have otherwise,” Johnston said. “He has the ability to be patient and understanding with students. He’s consistent. You know where you stand with Mr. Mosier.”

Mosier said interacting with high school students allows him to be more open and learn more than he would in any other profession.

“The best part of my job is getting to be around [students],”  he said. “That sounds corny but that’s exactly it. I don’t really like a lot of adults. I mean, adults are fine, but high school students are a lot more interesting. I don’t know if I could function if I had to live among adults. That would be a really boring life.”

To Mosier, high school students offer new insights to ideas that adults may not consider.

“Adults often, over time, tend to get too comfortable with themselves,” he said. “High school students can be very passionate about something, but they also tend to be more willing to examine things. I learn as much from students as I hope students learn from me.”