By JANET KEHRES
Mike Hoffman has been a Vocational Agriculture teacher at Wynford High School for 29 years and has loved every minute of it. He loves all of his students and demonstrates that love by helping them to learn to think for themselves. He gives them a problem. Tells them to look at the problem. Think how to solve the problem. Work on the problem until it is solved. The students love the "independence" and feel great pride in being able to solve the problem on their own.
Through the years Mr. Hoffman has left a great impact on his students at Wynford. The proof of that impact is that numerous of his past students are now teaching vo ag in many other districts. Randy Eisenhauer (current vo ag teacher at Shelby High School) was a student teacher with Mr. Hoffman. Tyler Pope is teaching at Buckeye Central High School. Mr. Hoffman stated "Tyler's accomplishments with soil judging has brought a new high to FFA." Josh Schieber is teaching at Colonel Crawford High School. When Josh was called "a little Mike Hoffman" he was full of pride to be compared to his mentor. Mary Beth Falk is teaching in the western states. Tessa Martin is now Mr. Hoffman's partner teacher at Wynford. Jeff Karchere is teaching at Bellevue High School. Matt Dotson is teaching at Clear Fork High School. There are more, but this story is about Mr. Hoffman.
Mike Hoffman was born in Helena, Ohio near Fostoria. He grew up on a 400-acre farm that grew grain, hay, hogs and beef. He attended Lakota High School and earned a full football scholarship to Michigan State University, which is agriculture based college. He majored in Agriculture and Natural Resources.
When he student taught in Michigan, he fell in love with teaching. After graduation he began his teaching career at Wynford High School and is still there. He is married to Beth who is a nurse at Marion General and has two children. Taylor is working on a nursing degree at Ashland and Seth is in the tenth grade at Wynford. Mike believes in "old man's math."
Math is important on the farm and he is always asking his students to compile the percentage of this project or grain yield, etc. No answer is ever laughed at in his class. He teaches common sense without criticism. The students laugh a lot, but never at each other and enjoy every aspect of his class. He encourages each and every student to find his/her own role in leadership. His passion for teaching shows when he takes extra time to get to know the inside story of every student. One of his students came to school on a snow day, just to be with him. He has a wonderful relationship with each and every student. He finds students that might not go to college or a vocational school and gives them a chance to be a valuable asset to society. He is strict, but very kind and caring to all of his students.
He applauds the great community support that his department receives from the parents. Mr. Paul Hartschuh and family allow the students to collect maple syrup from approximately 100 trees, assist with the processing and sell the finished product. The students collect the sap on Saturday and Sunday mornings and never complain. Wynford has 14 acres behind the school and each year Mr. Hoffman assigns a "Farm Manager" to decide what is going to be planted, when it is planted, and that manager must contact a parent who can lend the equipment to get the job done. Tom Dieber, a former teacher with Mr. Hoffman assists in this area whenever needed. He is very proud of his students who helped raised between eleven and twelve thousand dollars for the new FFA building at the Crawford County Fairgrounds. The students also built trailers to haul/transport the pens and show boxes that the students take to the fair.
When you ask Mr. Hoffman about his accomplishments, he is always willing to give others the credit. He states, "The students are the ones who did the work." When asked if he was ready to retire Mike said, "I love my job. Why would I retire?"
Mike Hoffman has built a legacy that will be around for a long time in the hearts of past and present students.