Getting to know Chris Palmer

Julia Wasik, News/Opinion Editor

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Among the many awesome teachers and coaches here at GCHS Christopher Palmer teaches sophomore English, junior English Honors, and Intro to Film. In addition, he also coaches cross country and girls track.

Whether you know him or not, few can leave GCHS without hearing his name, seeing him coach, or witnessing the way he conducts a class. He works with many students, and manages to help students with their work in a way that enhances their education and leaves them with respect for him as a teacher and a person. So, what is it about Mr. Palmer that makes him a positive figure?

“Mr. Palmer builds a student’s trust through his understanding and caring attitude,” said cross country and track athlete junior Gautami Sonarikar. However, this “understanding” and “caring attitude” is not without substance. Sonarikar implies this straightforward approach is “understanding and caring.”

“He lays down situations as they are, but also offers great ways to change them, and he often emphasizes that if you cannot control some things, then they can’t be changed. This can be applied to many high school and even athletic scenarios,” said Sonarikar. One of these other “scenarios” is the classroom.

While Sonarikar is an athlete and speaks from that experience, others have seen Palmer use this approach in both the academic and athletic sphere.

“He brings a lot of what he teaches to coaching– he relates it back. He teaches us how to de-stress,” said junior english honors student and track/cross country athlete Emma Clapp. By focusing on what you can control and not focusing on what you can’t, Palmer creates a emphasis on problem solving, helping to ‘de-stress’ and focus his athletes and students.

“[Teaching and coaching involves] the same principle…[however they are] different executions. It’s just knowing what the student or athlete expect in terms of his/herself… and catering to them individually,” said Palmer. Building relationships with his students and athletes is something that Clapp believes is something particularly special about Palmer.

“Being able to talk to an adult that you know is good at advice, and having that person that you can go to is really nice. He does a good job of listening to you… even if your going to him to vent,” said Clapp. “He’s really good at giving pep talks.”

Through conversation, the relationships Palmer creates is invaluable to building students up.

“He is able to joke around and have fun. He brings a real positive attitude a lot and really listens and cares about what others have to say. He is definitely someone I look up to,” said senior Luke Reblin. Reblin finished the 2017 Chicago Marathon running alongside Palmer, and says this is his favorite memory with him. Even at practice, going on long runs with Palmer in cross country and track seasons is something that Reblin mentions is enjoyable for him.

“He has always made time for me and gives the best advice he can come up with. He is always inspiring me to be better each day and to improve on all these little things. He has truly helped formed the way I am today,” said Reblin.

“[My role is] to be a calming presence that allows [students] to focus and work to the best of their ability, whether it is writing an essay or running a race,” said Palmer.

Palmer works to be a positive influence in the GCHS community, is inspired by his work, and emphasizes human relationships.

“The beautiful thing about classic literature is that no matter when you read it you can still find relevance in the human experience,” said Palmer. “I’ve always gravitated towards that idea that if I can explain why it still matters in [students’] day to day lives, then they might have more of a desire to give it a shot.”

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