How did Mr. Liechty end up teaching at Potosi? He’s a constant presence at Potosi High school, but I wanted to know more about his story. I visited his classroom to interview him during a Wednesday study hall.
When I asked if he had any interesting stories to share about himself that people might not know about him, his answer was “no”. At first, I thought this was what the entire interview was going to be like. He wasn’t going to make it easy for me to get information out of him. He likes challenging people. I had to find the right questions to get him to open up, but once I did, I found a person with a story to tell. Instead of getting a response like “no”, or something witty and sarcastic, when he opened up, I found he had very surprising interests outside of school, and I saw him in a new light.
When he went to college, he first wanted to go for a science education degree, and then decided to drop the education part and just study science. “I wasn’t convinced that I wanted to work with kids my freshman year of college.” He felt it would be too similar to high school and didn’t want to be in that setting. After he dropped the education aspect of his major, he didn’t like where he was heading in terms of job opportunities. They did not seem very interesting; for example, he was picturing a job in quality control for a food company, and that was not really something that he wanted to do. “I didn’t really like the outcome of [the] corporate world… so then I got back into education. I thought social studies would be fun, but it wasn’t... I missed science.” Liechty figured out he liked working with kids when he started coaching middle school hockey his junior year of college in his hometown of Oregon, Wisconsin. So he came full circle and decided to go with science education. He graduated from college in May of 2015 and has been teaching ever since.
Hockey is very important to Mr. Liechty; it’s his favorite sport. “Because it’s the best sport… It’s fast paced… it doesn’t stop… It's not like football where you do a play and then you stop, and then you do a play and then you stop. Hockey just goes. It’s kind of like a fast version of soccer, plus you can also hit the person with the object, which I find enjoyable… Like that's the thing that frustrates me about watching basketball, where you can’t just deck the person with the ball and take it. You can do that in Hockey, so you have to be really adept at getting out of the way… otherwise they just blow you over and take what you have.” Mr. Liechty's favorite team is the Philadelphia Flyers. He played Hockey at Oregon High School and ended up coaching the middle school while he was in college, as mentioned above. I’m sure he was a menace on the ice back in the day, and you wouldn’t want to meet him going for a puck.
But hockey isn’t his only interest.
He has a pretty wide ranging taste in music as well. He enjoys the oldies, “especially the 60’s range is phenomenal.” Liechty also enjoys 2000’s Country and Rap, and really enjoys Jay Z’s The Black Album. He likes classical too depending on what he’s working on. If he needs to focus, that's what he goes to. Sometimes, “Mozart can get a little intense, but some of the other ones are more chill.” He adds that, “Punk Rock is good too. If I need just a pick-me-up on the way to work, it will be Punk Rock.”
Mr. Liechty resides in Lancaster and would describe his commute to school every day as “perfect.” He has taught at Potosi for seven years and he really likes it here; it is the only place he has ever taught. He teaches Chemistry, Physics, Physical Science, and Tech Math. He has one son named Hudson, who is two years old. And, interestingly, he doesn’t have a favorite color. Bet you didn’t know that.
Liechty is the kind of teacher who won’t accept horseplay in his teaching space, but is able to have fun too. While I was interviewing him, all of his students were working in a quiet environment, but there was occasional laughter as well. Work was getting done, and it was a relaxed environment. All of the students have a lot of respect for him, but they are not afraid to approach him if they have any questions.
And so, the big question: “How did Mr. Liechty end up teaching here?” It seems that the answer comes back to hockey. Because of his love of hockey, we are lucky enough to see Mr. Liechty standing in the hallway everyday, coffee mug in hand, and lab coat donned when needed. We are grateful that he came full circle and decided that he wanted to be in science education again, otherwise we wouldn’t have this witty, sarcastic, intelligent guy as our teacher.