Mr. Granchi Plain Enthuastist

By Nathan Frame, Staff Writer — Teaching has always been a tough profession. Managing classrooms and mastering effective teaching methods have been a struggle for many new teachers. Even the ones who have done it for years still struggle, even those who have done it for 37 years.

“There is no perfect teacher,” teacher Paul Granchi said. “There is always something you can do better.”

Granchi, 66, was a teacher at Plain Local Schools from 1974 to 2011, and has been a substitute teacher since then. He taught various courses, mainly Social Studies courses such as Psychology and Sociology.

Starting his career as a new teacher in the district, he has seen plenty of things. He was there for the last year of Glenwood and Oakwood as two separate high schools. He has taught many notable alumni, some of whom are teachers in Plain Local now. Principal Mike Babics, athletic director Scott Garcia, and teachers Amanda Dalpaiz and Ryan Streb are examples of staff members who are Granchi’s former students.

“Some of them have gone far and beyond what I ever did,” Granchi said.

Every teacher starts somewhere, and for many that start can be very stressful. One year contracts have become the norm for new teachers, and Granchi has been through the process as well.

“You didn’t know whether you would be hired next year,” Granchi said.

For Granchi, he got that start in an awkward time period; right before the merge of Glenwood and Oakwood.

Back before 1975, the first year of the merger, Glenwood and Oakwood were two separate high schools, both with their own unique differences. Glenwood, Granchi described, was more of a wealthier district, while Oakwood was more in the farmland. When the news broke out that these two schools, and these two cultures, would be merging, students tried to do something about it.

“In my first year of teaching, students at Oakwood staged a walkout,” Granchi said. “Not only my class, but the whole building. They were protesting the merging of GlenOak.”

Students stood in an open field behind Oakwood and held an organized demonstration to let it be known that they were opposed to the merger. Though it still happened, the students had shown their displeasure.

In hindsight, the protests might not seem to make sense, but back then things were different. Students took some time getting used to each other, and teachers had to adapt to new teachings styles when the buildings first merged.

The school has made that transition though, and as things have grown and changed over the years, so have the students.

“There is a noticeable change from students back then to students now,” Granchi said. “They are more technologically advanced, but overall work ethic seems to have decreased, which may be due to technology.”

Students can be the best part and the worst part about teaching. Every student is different, and many have come and gone under Granchi’s wing to do bigger and better things. He says that is the best part about teaching.

“There is never a dull moment,” Granchi said.

As a teacher, getting to know your students can be an adventure and a great part of the job, Granchi says. But with the increase of testing in schools, it has become harder to do so.

“You have to develop relationships with the students, not just teach to the tests,” Granchi said. “You really want to get to know students, so you go to things they do outside of the classrooms. Choir concerts to football games, you go there so students can see you’re there and you tell them ‘that was a great solo you did at the May Show’ or something along those lines. I think it kind of develops that bond between teacher and student.”

Even after all these years of teaching, knowing he can walk away at anytime after he retired in 2011, he still comes back for things like those relationships.

“I love the kids and the staff here,” Granchi said. “I didn’t know if I really wanted to retire. My brain said yes but my heart said no.”

The staff are very grateful for that commitment, as well, as many teachers can rest assured that Granchi will take over the class in their absense.

“I don’t know if the district realizes how lucky we are to have someone with his teaching experience not just in teaching, but here in the Plain Local Schools district,” teacher Chad Palmer said.

The students, the teachers, the community. All are things that drive Granchi to come back here. It is the impact you can make on a student’s life, he says. It is why many teachers do what they do. The growth they help facilitate for their students also reflects back on them. It is something that comes with the job.

[Updated Aug. 19, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]