He knows Supreme Court cases off the top of his head, he has seven published books in the Library of Congress, and he loves to talk politics. It most likely won’t take you long to figure out what teacher I’m referring to. Coach Denny Burdine has been coaching and teaching at Arkansas High for 25 years, and he still hasn’t lost his touch.
All you have to do is watch him teach to realize that he is truly passionate about what he is talking about. Burdine said, “I love to see the ‘aha’ moment or that light that goes off in their brain when they grasp and fully understand new material.” Coach Burdine not only teaches his classes what they need to know, but he also applies the material to what is happening in real life and encourages class discussion. “I enjoy passing information to students to help them become better citizens and be more active in politics”, said Burdine. This information isn’t biased or one-sided either. Burdine has always made sure to not sway his students’ political opinions. In fact, I think he finds it quite amusing that his students can’t quite figure out what side he takes on political matters. Senior Madison Colbert said, “I enjoy his class because he shows both sides of every issue. He makes everyone feel important.”
This can be seen everyday as he asks his students how they are doing, what colleges are they looking at, how their weekend was, and other thoughtful questions that shows how he deeply cares about them and their futures. In fact, one of the things that Coach Burdine said he was going to miss the most when he eventually retires is “the relationships with the kids,” and it is easy to say that a great many of his students will miss him as well. “My favorite thing about Coach Burdine is how he genuinely cares about his students,” said senior Tamara Biddle. “I go and speak to Coach Burdine every morning on my way to 3rd period, and he is always in a great mood. He always asks me about my day and my grades.” Although he takes learning seriously, Coach Burdine is very lighthearted in class and teaches in a way that keeps his students locked in, and sometimes, even amused. “My favorite thing is his humor,” said senior Patrick Cook.
Cook has also been able to see first hand how Coach Burdine is not only a devoted teacher but also an ingenious coach, saying, “He’s a great coach who holds many records at Arkansas High.” When looking back at his memories coaching, Burdine listed the “seven state championships” and “seeing his kids get state rings” as some of his favorite memories.
Although Coach Burdine still plans to keep teaching for a while longer, when he retires, he plans to stay busy and has fun plans for the future, including hunting and fishing. “I don’t like to sit still”, said Burdine, “I love being active.” He even has taken his former students on some hunting and fishing trips with him. Above all, he says he will miss seeing the kids, but who knows, all you have to do is go to the closest lake or hunting ground, and odds are, you’ll bump into him sooner or later.