Profile of a Teacher: Kevin Cook


0.5 of Kevin Cook. (Photo/Kruger Serenity)

Kruger Serenity, Journalism Student

Kevin Cook has been a part of Rice for over 16 years. Students would say Cook is one of the best, and most down-to-earth, understanding teachers any school could have. He does his best to relate to all students but also makes students feel welcome. He tries to stay active in different school sports, and activities.

What has your involvement in Rice been like over the years?
Over the past 16 years, I have taught, coached, mentored, worked with the summer program, and chaperoned many events.

What impact do you feel you make at Rice?
I feel that I impact Rice as a science teacher but I also feel that I go above and beyond. I listen to students’ problems about many things other than academics. I try to be available for anyone that is struggling. I have had many students come back to visit or write me letters and tell me about how I have impacted their life. It is the main reason why I’m still a teacher.

Bereal of Kevin Cook. (Photo/Kruger Serenity)

How do you bond well with your students?
I bond with my students by showing interest in the things that they enjoy. I listen to countless stories about things that I have no interest in but it brings joy to the students so I endure it. I also show flexibility and transparency that students appreciate.

What are different ways you can evaluate students?
I evaluate students using the usual tools like quizzes and tests but I feel that I am always evaluating students by asking the questions during class, and checking in with them periodically over email.

What is your teaching philosophy?
My teaching philosophy is that all students learn in different ways so it is my job to approach a lesson from many different viewpoints. A student should not be graded based on one particular method. The effort is something that should be factored in but I do believe in traditional grading just the same.

What are some things you wish to change about Rice?
I wish the perception of Rice would change. I wish the attitude of the students at Rice would change. They always claim they hate the school but it is for stupid, small, and silly reasons and I wish there was a way to get them all to see that. The outside perception of Rice is that it is full of pretentious, rich, entitled students, and while that is certainly true for some of them it is by no means the majority.

What are your favorite Rice memories so far?
Seeing the drumline beat the baseball team in dodgeball at a pep rally, chaperoning the senior trip in 2023 to forest lake camp, and chaperoning many retreats.

Why a science teacher?
Science and nature are everywhere and everything about it is fascinating. I love to make the natural world more accessible to our youth.

Why teaching?
I randomly found my way to teaching out of college as just a summer job but soon found that I truly enjoyed the process of students learning new and amazing things.

What is your classroom structure like?
My classroom has been described as “controlled chaos.” I don’t like complete silence. I like student participation and loud uncontrollable laughter. I demand a safe space where students can voice their opinions without fear of judgment.

Cook’s bearded dragon, Ozzy. (Photo/Kruger Serenity)

Almost everyone’s favorite part of Mr. Cooks’s room is his bearded dragon, Ozzy. He is so sweet and loves being held. Mr. Cook has had him for 2-3 years. He has his lizard, Mrs. Boardman has her turtle, and Mrs. Barnacle has many different animals throughout the year.