Thanks to Teachers: Ryan Smith

Photo credit: WLOS Staff

It's crunch time before spring break in Ryan Smith's Honors Physics class at Owen High School.

The lesson today is all about work, power and energy. Smith said he gets his energy from his students.

"It gives me energy on hard days. I like figuring out how to get them working, find out what they really care about and relate what they have to learn with what they need to know," the teacher of 8 years said.

Smith says he didn't start out to become a teacher. He went to NC State, majoring in engineering. "It just didn't click with me," he remembered.

While wondering what to do, Smith thought about his high school days.

"I was in ROTC. I really enjoyed that. I was a company commander, and I was able to teach the younger kids," he said.

So, Smith began student teaching at Owen. Soon, family matters took his family to Georgia, where he continued to teach science.

Once back in the mountains, Smith found out his friend and mentor was retiring from Owen.

"I really spent my whole career basically waiting for an opening here," Smith said. A year and a half ago, the personable science teacher got his chance.

"Came in and never missed a beat. Just made a huge contribution to his department," recalled Owen Assistant Principal Bebe Tarleton of Smith.

Tarleton said one of Smith's biggest contributions is his ability to relate to his students.

"He's a really great guy because he pushes us to our limits, unlike any teacher I've ever had," senior Loyn Howie said.

"He's actually shown me how cool it is to teach other kids and how interesting it can be." senior Cameron Hamrick said.

"Seeing them struggle for half an hour, 45 minutes, then all of a sudden there's that moment they've got it and understand it. That's a good moment for me anytime it happens," Smith said.

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