Teacher Feature: Dr. Walter Hays
Even the most cursory glance over Dr. Walter Hays's résumé inspires respect and admiration. As the Deputy Chief for Research Applications in the Office of Earthquakes, Volcanoes and Engineering of the United States Geological Survey (USGS), he worked on many cooperative international projects, particularly with China regarding earthquake disasters and the engineering of Three Gorges Dam. After 26 years of public service with the USGS, Dr. Hays began teaching at FCS in 2001; the 2013-2014 school year is his thirteenth year as a member of our faculty.
He has had the privilege of seeing a few of his students graduate from FCS, attend college and return as members of our faculty and administration. Because he simultaneously taught at FCS and George Mason University for eight years, he has sometimes taught the same students in high school and college courses successively.
“After 13 years, I still like the challenge of teaching. Helping a class of new students to reach their potential is a difficult task because success or failure hangs in the balance every year.” -- Dr. Walter Hays
Dr. Hays currently teaches physics and advanced mathematics classes at FCS. Previous years have seen him teaching earth science, algebra, geometry, chemistry and business math classes. He still relishes the challenge of bringing another class of students to their full potential. "Teaching," he says, "always requires the very best spiritual, emotional, and academic attributes of a teacher." One of his strengths as a teacher is his Christian conviction. He knows that a successful student (and future citizen in our society) needs to develop spiritually as well as academically in order to function at the highest possible level. To facilitate their spiritual growth, Dr. Hays emphasizes Christian principles in his classroom, such as honesty and the power of prayer.
Another great strength is his ability to recognize and appreciate the differences between individual students. He chooses a variety of approaches to learning in order to help his students realize their potential. His classes inevitably include real-world, skill-building activities related to the subject, from abstract (thinking and analysis) to more concrete (writing and sketching). The goal of these activities is to prepare the student for a successful life in a rapidly changing world.
“My favorite thing about the Fairfax Christian School is the ‘FCS kids’ individually and collectively. Each one is given the opportunity of a lifetime to grow spiritually, emotionally and academically. ... FCS is a synonym for what Almighty God has done for 53 years, is still doing today, and will continue to do tomorrow.” -- Dr. Walter Hays