Paul Buuck, an alumnus of Emmanuel St. Michael, went to college with the goal of becoming a pastor. But all that changed when he met his wife and felt led to pursue teaching instead.“In the end, it was God’s place to put me where I needed to be: in education,” Mr. Buuck says.Paul Buuck grew up in Fort Wayne, but taught in Lutheran schools in Nebraska and Kendallville, Indiana, before returning to Emmanuel St. Michael in Fort Wayne this summer. Having taught third grade for 26 years, Paul was thrilled to have the opportunity to teach the same grade.“I’m back at Emmanuel St. Michael,” he adds. “But on the other side of the desk.”This transition allowed Mr. Buuck to come full circle in his life, impacting children the same way he was influenced as a student at Emmanuel St. Michael.His robust experience gives students the opportunity to learn under a seasoned teacher, adding that his favorite subject to teach is Bible.“Christ is the center of everything we do. I like that time spent with kids talking about the Bible and asking, ‘What does that mean for us?’”Mr. Buuck’s enthusiasm for teaching spills over into other areas, including math and technology. He incorporates this love of learning into hands-on projects, including a third grade computer project where students research healthy snacks, then add the information to a wiki page. The culmination of the project includes students presenting the research using laptops at the school’s learning fair.
The project not only provides students with practical life application, but also gives them experience working in small groups.He notes that the team approach gives kids the chance to ask real life questions like, “How do I work with others to accomplish a goal, [including] someone I don’t agree with?”It’s these experiences that teach kids how to solve real world problems, preparing students for the future.In this way Mr. Buuck is fulfilling his role not only academically, but also spiritually, teaching students how to deal with their problems in Christlike ways. When he sees a student struggling with an issue, his goal is to help them make good choices.“I see students who struggle with a particular issue and then later see them handle it in a better way,” Mr. Buuck explains. “Maybe they get upset and instead of arguing, they talk to me about it.”These are the building blocks that prepare students for real life problems.“It’s our job to teach math, but it’s also our job to teach them to be grown-ups in this world. So whatever social skills I teach, it will give them support no matter what they do. I want them to get to that point—[using] skills that help them succeed.”
It’s this approach to education that gives students at Emmanuel St. Michael the building blocks for life, preparing them academically, spiritually, and relationally, just like when Mr. Buuck was a student.“Emmanuel St. Michael Lutheran School offers parents a loving, Christ-centered atmosphere for their child to grow, thrive and learn,” he says.It’s this reason that Paul Buuck’s story has come full circle, investing in the same school where others invested in him, influencing the next generation for Christ.