The Making of Martin
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Oftentimes, children are more in touch with social injustices and peculiarities than their grown counterparts. From a young age, Wade Martin, Assistant Principal for Student Affairs, noticed that certain children, who were separated from the rest of the school and taught in different classes, weren’t so different from the “normal” kids.
“I had a friend of mine who I went to school with who, we were best friends outside of school, but in school, we never had any classes together.” Martin recalls. “This is years ago when, if you were an ESE student, they put you in a portable outside away from the rest of the kids. So I would never see him in class, but outside he seemed like a regular kid, so it just piqued my interest.”
In college, Martin went on to study Exceptional Student Education, a course of study which allowed him the opportunity to learn about working with students with all different exceptionalities, ranging from the severely emotionally disturbed to kids with SLDs (specific learning disorders, like dyslexia). After transferring from Florida State University to the University of South Florida and graduating with an advanced degree from Nova Southeastern, he worked in the private sector for five years before becoming a teacher. He started out his career at Dowdell Middle Magnet, a school going through the change of separation to inclusion learning.
“[My students] were very upset because they always got new teachers,” Martin explains, “teachers were always quitting on them in the middle of the year. So their question to me was, ‘Mr. Martin, how long are you going to be here?’ In my mind, I thought not very long, but I was like, ‘I’ve got you guys the year,’ even though I thought that I might leave in December. And they said, ‘Okay, because everybody else keeps leaving.’ ‘What do you mean, everyone else keeps leaving?’ And they told me one teacher [had] left after two weeks and another one left in the middle of class and just walked out. It just plugged at the heartstrings a little bit and I ended up finishing up the year. That was in 2006 and I’ve been in education ever since.”
After the year in ESE Math came to a close, Martin transferred to into the reading department, where he taught both advanced and regular ed. Even in the regular classroom, Martin has helped students to excel beyond other teachers’ expectations and succeed in academics and life.
“I have one student who is going to become a math teacher,” Martin remarks with a smile. “The student was a struggling reader, to the point where teachers were actually making fun of her. I actually overheard a conversation where they said something so derogatory about this student that I was compelled to make this particular student my project. I became a little bit harder on that student than I would necessarily be on anyone else to the point where if she asked me a stupid question, I yelled at her. She struggled through middle school with her standardized test taking, so in the classroom, she was fine. We had to fight until the day before school started to get her to the high school of her choice: Tampa Bay Tech. She ended up graduating with a 3.8 GPA.”
In his personal life, Martin has been together with his wife for eleven years and a five year old son. He enjoys playing softball and basketball. Other than that, Martin claims not to be too interesting. But after thinking about it for a little bit, the details come pouring out.
“I’m left handed.”
After the author affirms that she is also, in fact, a lefty, Martin jokes.
“We’re the smartest people ever.”
“I’m a Yankees fan. [My passion for baseball] began at eleven; I played catch with an uncle. I’d never really played catch before and it came pretty easy to me. I was in New York at the time and then we moved to Florida and I signed up for little league baseball and played all the way through high school.”
Martin was born in Uniondale, Long Island.
“3851 Northern Parkway… I was actually born in that house. I was during the blizzard of 1978. I came so quickly that my mom couldn’t get to the hospital and you really couldn’t travel. She was in labor for like two hours in the house.”
Martin also used to have an extra finger.
“There was no bone, so all they had to do was tie a string around it and cut the circulation off. And it just fell off in a few days… my mom had one two. I was waiting for my son to have it, but he just had ten.”
To finish things off, Martin has a message for the student body.
“Tell these kids to enjoy their time at Robinson High School because it is without a doubt one of the best high schools in Hillsborough County. I will tell you this with certainty. These is my tenth year… I’ve been to other schools and Robinson is a great school.”