Joking with Madsen: Teacher enjoys humoring students during class

Anyone who had World History should know Rick Madsen. At first Madsen seems like another history teacher, but when he establishes a connection with students they become a target of Madsen’s shenanigans.

“I like to tease them in a humorous way,” Madsen said. Some of his pranks are making jokes that is a personal reference to certain a student, getting an entire class in on a prank, or joking with students about their grades.

“Sometimes a little humor lights a fire under the kids; you don’t want to use too much sarcasm though,” Madsen said.

One prank instigated by Madsen involved disrupting a seminar on World War I y another teacher. Social studies teacher Steven Levine walked into the seminar room and told students that there was a German solider in the building and that there was a leak of mustard gas and Levine had the only gas mask in the school. Levine showed the students how to cover their mouths with their hands. Madsen then came in throwing bottles of regular mustard labeled mustard gas.

“The pranks are to reinforce points that were already learned in the seminar to make it more memorable,” Levine  said.

One of the advantages of Kerr is that Madsen can interact with his students.

“You have the leisure time and the ability to talk to kids. you don’t even know when or how there going to approach you” Madsen said.

One of the reasons Madsen likes Kerr is because of his role as sponsor for table tennis. Madsen started teaching at Kerr in 2006, transferring from Holub Middle School. Former Holub students already knew Madsen. It was a comfortable transfer for Madsen

“[Kerr graduates] Timothy Wang and Chung Wang approached me my first year,” Madsen said. “I don’t know if they knew that I liked table tennis or ping-pong, and they asked me to sponsor it and it was right up my ally, so I was thrilled to do it,” Since then, the club has grown and Madsen has met more and more students.

As a child growing up in Indiana, Madsen started playing table tennis at a very young age. He played a lot though the cold winter months, though high school and even after.

“I was very athletic as a kid, it was one of dozens of sports that I’ve played,” Madsen said. Other sports include basketball, baseball, tennis, football, bowling, and running in 5K races. He played for the fun of the sport since in Madsen didn’t enter in a lot of tournaments or had a primary team where he played his sport.

He still enjoys a game of table tennis and can frequently be found in the gym after school, teasing and challenging students.

“It is one of my favorite sports and some of the students are good enough where it can be a challenge,” Madsen said.