Inside history teacher, Mike Valentine’s classroom, walls are lined with posters, maps and memorabilia. His iconic golf clubs sit over in the corner and other little trinkets including Lenin-Grade sodas, a Marie Antionette doll and a mini guillotine atop the cabinet. Over the years, the items have collected special memories from his first year teaching AP Euro in 2004.
What made you decide to become a teacher?
“In high school, I found I had an ability to get people’s attention because I’m really loud … and so I saw that compared to a lot of students who would give presentations would put you to sleep and it’s pretty hard to be put to sleep when somebody is screaming in the room… and, that’s kind of why I (became a teacher).
What’s the story behind the golf clubs?
“On (a) late-night TV show (specials) … Bob Hope … would do comedy for our troops every year for Christmas and go overseas every year. And he would do his monologue and he would have a golf club…in his hand. And I went, ‘what if I put a golf club in my hand?’ The two aluminum (clubs) came from my father-in-law (when) he got rid of those clubs a long time ago … and a student gave me the wooden (golf club), like a lot of things in (the classroom).”
What made you decide to retire?
“(One of) the biggest reasons is I’m going to be 64 in February. I’m the oldest teacher here.”
What will you do with your time after retiring?
“I have a ton of projects and traveling. In addition to Europe for three more years afterward … I want to travel around (the US) and play with cars … There are Corvette clubs … and I’d meet a whole bunch of new people … and of course, I have a son and he’ll probably be having kids soon so I’ll have grandkids.”
What do you think is the most rewarding part of being a teacher here at Granite Bay?
“It’s fun working with young adults … they’re funny. When I tell people I’m a high school teacher some adults are like, ‘Oh my God, how do you handle them’, but you know they’re fine. I deal with students who are highly motivated … (and) fun to be around. I like coming to work.”
If you could sum up your entire career in one word what would it be?
“I’m just going to use one and it’s ‘fantastic’. I have enjoyed it from day one.”