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Mr. Martin: Behind the Beard

20150501-113629-IMG_0524-Canon EOS REBEL SL1

Mr. Tim Martin is a long-standing and very popular teacher and coach here at J.C. Charyk Hanna School. In addition to teaching Jr. High science this year, he could be found coaching archery, badminton, and helping out with the CTS Wildlife classes where he helped teach students how to terrorize the local trout population.

Mr. Martin is not only known for being a good and fair teacher, but also a coffee lover (half of his classroom rules involve not interfering with his caffeine consumption), and a motorcycle enthusiast during his off hours. Everyone was surprised to learn what a great dancer he was last fall when he competed in Hanna’s Dancing with the Stars competition.

He is retiring this year, so we decided to ask him to share a bit about his background with us, and to maybe give some advice to those he is leaving behind once he hangs up his teaching coffee cup.

Can you tell us a bit about your background, where you grew up, where you went to school?

I grew up in a very small town in south central Alberta. Rosebud. For the first six years of school I attended the school in Rosebud and when it closed, I finished my grade 7 to 12 at Standard High School.

What kind of a student were you? Were there any subjects that you really excelled in?

To be honest, I was a rotten kid in school, getting into trouble constantly.  Drove my teachers crazy. My favorite subject was Phys Ed but I was also an honor student as well. Go figure.

How did you decide to go into teaching as a career?

My grade 8 teacher told my parents that I would be a great teacher because I had gotten into so much trouble that no kid would be able to fool me.  I also wanted a career where I could have fun.  The rest is history.

What schools have you worked at along the way?

I was a substitute teacher for 3 years before getting my first position at F. G Miller Jr/Sr High School at Elk Point, Alberta.  I moved to Hanna and taught at the Jr. High School and then at the current J. C. Charyk High School.   I also had the privilege of teaching at Lockridge Sr. High School in Perth, Western Australia for a year.

What year did you begin teaching at JCC?

started teaching in Hanna the 1989/90 school year.

What subjects have you taught over the years?

I have taught a variety of subjects:  Science 7,8,9,10,14,24 – Biology 20 – PE 6,7,8,9,10,20,30 – Sports Medicine – Outdoor Education 7,8,9 – Paleontology15 – Math 14,24 – Life and Career Skills – Health 7,8,9,10,11,12.

Are there any success stories from your time teaching that you’d like to share? (Without naming names, if possible.)

Having a successful and enjoyable year of teaching in an inner city school, Lockridge HS, Perth, WA

Anytime a kid learns something new, is a success story!!!   It was a privilege to be able to teach my own kids.

You talked a lot about all the coaching you’ve done when I was in archery with you. Can say you the sports you’ve coached, and how long you’ve been doing it for?

I started coaching when I was in high school, grade 10.  Archery, baseball, softball, slow pitch, basketball, badminton, curling, football, hockey, field hockey,  lacrosse, soccer, volleyball, track and field, Australian Rules Football, Rugby League,

Rugby Union, Cricket.  I have been coaching for 40 years.

What role did you play in bringing Hawks Football to JCC?

Mr. McKeage and I were watching a basketball game and he asked me if I thought football would work in our school.  I said I think it would and the rest is history.  We started the planning, got a great group of parents to work with and the Hanna Hawks were born.

Can you tell us about the Hockey Academy? How did you get involved with it? Were you one of the people who helped launch the program at our school?

I started Hockey Academy after talking with a staff member who had a nephew in one in Calgary.  Did some research and applied for Academy status from Hockey Canada that spring.  I wanted to provide a different opportunity to kids to learn another life long activity.  Mr Mckeage was in total support of the idea and the town of Hanna has been great in its support.  The Hockey Academy wouldn’t  work if it wasn’t for the support of the parents and the school’s administration.

It’s hard not to notice that your beard is … epic. Is there a story behind it?

The beard started because I was basically too lazy to shave in the mornings.  It got bigger and bushier when I decided to be a rebel when the old Jr. HIgh moved into J.C. Charyk.  It has been on for 36 years.

My dad mentioned something about a you being mistaken for a member of ZZ Top once. Would you mind telling us about that?

As for ZZ Top,  I went to their concert and dressed with the hat, leather coat and, of course, “cheap sunglasses”.  We had seats on the floor and during the entire concert, a husband and wife in front of me kept turning around and staring at me.  After the concert they asked if they could take a picture with me.  I said sure and told them no one is going to believe I was part of ZZ Top, and their reply was… “Hell yes they are!!”

Somewhere in Alberta there is a couple showing a picture of them with [me as] Dusty.

It has been announced that you are retiring at the end of this year. How many years of teaching will that conclude?

At the answering of these question, I had 16 school days left in a 30 year career!!

What plans do you have once you’re retired? Are you going to kick back and take it easy, or are you going to wind up almost living in the school like Mr. Collier does?!?

I will kick back and drink more coffee, do more fishing, hunting and taking longer motorcycle trips.   I will also come back to sub for a while and challenge Mr. Collier for sub days..

If you could offer just one piece of advice to the staff you leave behind at the end of the year, what would it be?

The advice I would offer to the staff would be:  next year when the chaos of construction begins,  remember why you became a teacher.  “Be there for all the kids!” It is the little things that you can do for the kids and for other staff members that will get you through the chaos.  Remember the 98% and  2%:  98% in control but watch out for the 2%.

Final question: We understand you keep count, so, how many days left until you retire?

The countdown began 3 years ago and it is so nice to see the number down to low double digits.  As mentioned before:  16 school days left at the answering of these questions.


Mr. Martin is an incredible teacher with a fun and kind sense of humor. Everyone at JCC is sure to miss him and the smell of coffee coming from his room early in the morning.  We wish him happy hunting and motorcycling in his retirement, and hope he finds a piece of the happiness he brought to his students here at school. Good luck in the future Mr. Martin; JCC isn’t going to be the same without you!

by Ashlyn McCormick
Grade 8 student
J.C. Charyk Hanna School


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