The student news site of Hopkins High School

Daniel “Champ” Nelson puts emphasis on inclusion, appreciation

Dec 19, 2019

Daniel Nelson, mathematics, is one of many teachers in the state of Minnesota.

Nelson, more commonly known by his students as Champ, puts an emphasis on students feeling included in the classroom as well as forming strong individual connections with every student.

Tally Shaver, Junior, is a current student of Nelson’s, and she is enthusiastic about the way he conducts himself in the classroom.

“Many other teachers put creating an inclusive environment second, but to Champ, that’s the foremost priority,” Shaver said. “Champ takes the time to notice people’s efforts and improvements,”.

Shaver appreciates the efforts made by Nelson because she said it improves how students work in the classroom. She said that by staying enthusiastic it makes students feel welcome by honoring many opinions.  

Shaver also said that because Nelson makes students feel comfortable in class they are more comfortable taking risks.

But lots of teachers try to make their classrooms fun and inclusive. What truly separates Nelson from the rest of the HHS teachers are his dailey class activities: daily handshakes, question of the day, and student of the day.

Shaver said that her favorite of these daily activities is the daily handshake before walking into class. From formal Monday’s to high five Friday’s Nelson always makes an effort to greet each student before ever class.

“Even just by greeting students everyday outside of the class, he makes an effort to get to know his students. He will always ask how my dance is going or how my day is going,” Shaver said.

Nelson is also notorious for having a student of the day. The student of the day is chosen by the rest of the students in the class. They then must stand in front of the class while the other students take turns complimenting them.

“The whole point is to get everybody to appreciate everybody else because everybody has something that they do well  and without that the whole world wouldn’t function,” Nelson said.

Nelson said that the reason he makes this effort to make students feel comfortable and appreciated is because he genuinely cares about all of his students.

“I’ve loved every kid I’ve had and I just want them to know I’m excited to see them everyday and it’s genuine, and I think if it wasn’t genuine I don’t think it would work. If I didn’t really care about them and just tried to act like it, kids can see through that, they’re way to smart,” Nelson said.

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