Energetic teacher, coach handles tasks with a smile
An interview with Tonganoxie Junior High School teacher and coach Phil Jeannin is a whirlwind of activity.
Students come screeching to a halt from all directions. They ask where track practice is or if they need their cleats or will he please sign a permission form.
Jeannin fires answers right back with a smile.
Students nominated Jeannin for Teacher Appreciation week. Most of their nominations addressed his high energy and enthusiasm for the job.
"You've got to smile at the kids," he said.
Jeannin has taught in his hometown of Tonganoxie for 23 years, he said, except for a first-year teaching stint in Herington.
He coaches seventh-grade girls basketball and seventh- and eighth-grade boys track. He has coached football and boys basketball as well.
He teaches driver's education, seventh- through ninth-grade physical education and health classes.
"I get frustrated with junior high kids, but this age is the most fun," he said smiling.
Some of Jeannin's students recently wrote essays saying that he was their favorite teacher.
Joe Guinn said that he most admires Jeannin's patience and his attitude toward his students.
"If students are in need of someone to talk to, most of them know that Coach Jeannin is a good person to go to," Guinn wrote. "It seems to me that he treats his students more like peers than like adolescents."
Students praised Jeannin in other ways.
For instance, Matt Madeira wrote, "He always has energy, especially as he gets up early in the morning to run."
Another student, Chris Taylor, said he appreciates Jeannin's concern for the students' well-being.
"He is worried about our health and us getting hurt."
And according to Christal Athon, Jeannin's been dedicated to his job for a long time, and that helps today.
She wrote, "My dad went to school here, and Coach taught him, so he knows what to expect from me and many others."
Perhaps Taylor summed it up as well as anybody:
"Coach has a way of communicating with the students," Taylor wrote. "I don't think there is a student that doesn't like him."