Names and Faces: John Gerzik

Published: Jan. 2, 2020 at 5:49 PM CST
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Some people think being a teacher is a calling.

For John Gerzik, it's a call he's been waiting to answer his entire life. When you step into Gerzik's classroom, the first thing you notice are machines, but what this Bryan native wants you to see is creativity.

"This class is about taking an idea that you have and making it reality," said Gerzik.

Gerzik graduated from Bryan High School in 2003. He said that traditional classrooms and structure didn't always work for him. It's that experience that drives Gerzik as a teacher.

"I try to let that shine in my students and I try to push their passions instead of just what I want. I try to find what they like and I try to build that up," he explained.

He's in his 4th year teaching his project-based class. His 19 students are taking skills they learn in other subjects and combining them. This year, they made Christmas decorations as a class fundraiser. Making the decorations was easy, Gerzik said. Selling them wasn't.

"They're intimidated by talking to people, but they're not intimidated in this class. It's been an opportunity for them to understand that you can make money in this industry," said Gerzik.

Gerzik is passionate about teaching. He wants his students to see their own potential.

"I feel like that's my only job as a teacher is being able to get a student that is timid and opens up. That's the whole reason why I started teaching," said Gerzik.

It's the reason why he works so hard for his students, several of which are attending Texas A&M University to be engineers. For Gerzik, it's all about seeing that lightbulb go off in a student's mind.

"The reward most days is the 'ah-ha' moment that people have," said Gerzik.

"My students will be struggling in something and then when it finally clicks, I can see it in their eyes and I can feel it and they finally release all that stress that they had trying to figure it out," he explained.

If Gerzik looks familiar, he was on a Netflix show called "Ultimate Beast Master." He competed with other athletes from around the world and won his episode.