John Gibson has taught PE at Black Mountain Primary (BMP) for 29 years. “When I teach in my gym, I feel like it’s my space. I’m the Walt Disney of my gym. I enjoy that about my job,” he says.
Throughout the years, Mr. Gibson has made an impact on several generations of BMP students. He often sees former students’ children come through his classes. He loves that part of living in the Black Mountain Community. “Some of my former students are now my best friends!”
BMP Principal Malorie McGinnis says Mr. Gibson is “Phenomenal”!
“On a daily basis, Mr. Gibson models respect for others, as well as leadership skills. He has high expectations of students and encourages them to always give their best,” she says.
Mr. Gibson follows a curriculum and measures student success. However, he says good teaching is about more than that.
“It’s not what you teach the kids, it’s how you make them feel when you teach them. What I remember about my time at school as a child is the teachers who made me feel special.”
While Mr. Gibson has taught PE for nearly 3 decades, he’s also been a BMP bus driver for 12 years! He coached football, wrestling, and softball earlier in his career and maintained his bus license to drive players to games. 12 years ago, he agreed to be a substitute driver for a few weeks and developed a strong sense of responsibility for his young passengers. He enjoys driving what he calls the most beautiful roads of Buncombe County.
“It’s calming and relaxing,” he says.
He ensures a quiet bus ride by entertaining students with trivia games and tall tales!
“I’ll usually make-up a story, and the students stay calm and quiet. I could probably fill a book with all the stories I’ve made up over the years,” says Gibson.
Mr. Gibson says people have started asking him when he’s going to retire. Gibson says he’s having too good of a time teaching to call it quits!
He says, “when I teach, I get to be who I want-a clown, a magician, a storyteller, or an actor, and hopefully, it makes kids feel good by teaching that way. When I reach a student who might be having a bad day, or is having trouble focusing, it’s the best feeling in the world! I have those amazing moments all day,” he says.
(Article written by Stacia Harris. Photographs by Ben Rickert.)