BRISTOL, Connecticut, U.S.A. — Bristol accounting teacher Richard Ladisky is counting down the days to retirement.
After teaching 36 years at both city public high schools, he has accomplished a lot.
Teaching students about accounting, talking about his interests, and throwing in little jokes along the way, Ladisky created an enjoyable classroom environment.
He doesn’t teach strictly by the book, but finds real-life examples to illustrate his points, including daily Dilbert cartoons.
Ladisky, a down-to-earth guy who teaches at both Bristol Central and Bristol Eastern high schools, loves accounting.
“Accounting is the backbone of the business world,” Ladisky said.
“Most jobs need some accounting training in the business world.”
Ladisky isn’t only interested in accounting.
He also serves as the city’s director of emergency management, a part-time job planning for natural disasters, and he teaches photography for Bristol’s adult education program.
But he’s made his biggest mark teaching thousands of students about accounting over the decades.
Ladisky takes a different approach from most teachers.
While most teachers get right to business when the bell rings, and stick close to the subject, Ladisky brings in Dilbert cartoons and news clippings every day to spur discussion.
“It’s a nice way to introduce students to issues not in the books,” Ladisky said.
He said that he searches for cartoons that are relevant to the class.
Ladisky also asks the students about their weekends and what they’re doing, to keep the class interesting as students talk about their lives.
Ladisky also talks about his own life.
He said he loves dancing.
“The nightclub two-step” is his favorite, Ladisky said, and he dances at all of the clubs and dance halls he can with his “other half.”
Ladisky sometimes even shows students home videos of his dance lessons. He also has his own dance floor in his basement to practice his moves on.
Students find it interesting to see a teacher’s personal life rather than just the guy in the suit and tie that makes you read or solve math problems for 84 minutes every other day.
Ladisky tends to get right to the point and keeps the students attention by throwing in little wisecracks and jokes.
If someone does something weird, Ladisky will make a face or mumble, to get students laughing.
He said he loves to see people happy, laughing and having a good time.
Ladisky loves to travel.
He talks often about going to the Maldives, located in Malaysia, as well Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, which houses the tallest skyscraper in the world.
Ladisky said he enjoys visiting places such as Bali, the Komodo Islands of Indonesia and Papua, New Guinea.
After he retires, Ladisky said, he intends to travel and he might teach dance.
Eric Simmons is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.