Wizard of the Month Spotlight - February 2022 - Jacob Hollis
Our Employee of the Month is Jacob Hollis from Boston, MA.
Jacob is an amazing and dependable teacher who goes above and beyond for his students. He is full of creative ideas, knows how to engage his class, and never turns down a challenge, even when that means solo teaching a class of 26 students!
Jacob, thank you for being such an outstanding employee and teacher!
To show our appreciation for your dedication and hard work – please check your email this week for a special gift card.
Bios are always hard, but I’ve never been one to pass on a fun little challenge! I like to think of myself as a fairly simple person; my hobbies include sitting, thinking, and sipping my coffee. I love to laugh, and I’m rarely at a loss for a reason to do so. I hope you find a reason to laugh today as well!
Your kids will not always want to learn; let them teach you.
1. Who are you, where do you come from, where are you going?
Who could know? I can only hope to find out.
2. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started teaching?
Sometimes the best way to make a statement is to ask a question.
3. What is the most exciting experience you have had while playing or teaching chess?
4. How do you motivate your students to succeed?
I try to leave notions of success (and failure) at the door; I want to motivate my students to have fun, and I do so by having my own fun!
5. What is your most memorable memory from your time as a Chess Wizard?
Hard to beat the chorus of “noooo!” when I told my students they’d have a new instructor going forward. I hope they were good to the other guy!
6. If you could retire tomorrow and never have to worry about money again, what would you do with your time?
Oof, easy answer, I think about this all the time. I would spend my time sipping coffee and studying chess with my wonderful partner! Maybe I’d even go for a walk every now and then, if I were feeling bold.
7. What’s your go-to technique for dealing with ‘handful students’?
Be real with them! If I were in a bad mood and some guy in a wizard costume started treating me like a child, I’d lose my mind. I feel that respect should be shared, and you've gotta give it to get it. Level with them, speak honestly and respectfully with them, and try not to resort to time-outs or guardian-contact right off the bat. “Man, it sounds like you're having a hard day. Do you want to tell me what's got you down right now? I’m here to make your day more fun, but you've gotta tell me what that's gonna take or I won't be able to help you.”
8. What is an unusual place you have been to?
Weird little planet called Earth. Would not recommend.
9. Do you have a talent that not many people know about?
Oh, several! I do hand-poked tattoos, I design tabletop games, I used to yoyo competitively, and I was once an award-winning origami artist for an advertising firm; the list goes on but these are some of my favorites.
10. What’s your #1 teaching tip?
I’ve shared some favorites here already, but I’ve also found great success in relating my lessons to my students’ interests outside of chess. Pawn promotion somehow seems to be a point of contention until you tell them it’s like evolving a pokémon; you would not believe how excited the kids get when they find out you were watching pokémon when you were their age nearly twenty years ago!
11. What’s your favorite classroom Attention Getter?
I’m astounded, every single time, at the sudden snap-to when I call my kids Chess Lizards. “Did you just call us LIZARDS??” No dude, but let's put that crazy imagination of yours to work on the demo board for a minute!
12. What is something interesting that you’re involved in, outside of Chess Wizards?
My own little life! My beautiful friends, my wonderful partner, my own quiet eclecticism… life is full of life.