Eagle Eye Teacher of the Week: Mr. Rudy Bilka

Everyone in the middle school knows English teacher Rudy Bilka for his sarcastic sense of humor and hilarious puns.

“Mr. Bilka brings so much positive energy to the middle school. Just a few years back, he added ELA to his certification so he could teach eighth-grade English, and we are glad that he did. He differentiates instruction to really meet students where they are in their literacy skills,” said Middle School Principal Shane Cowher.

Bilka graduated from Penn State Altoona in 2006 and has been teaching for 17 years. Before coming to Tyrone in 2009, he taught in the Huntingdon Area School District’s alternative education program. He is certified in Elementary K-6th and English 7th -12th.

“Rudy is a master writing teacher. He gives students timely and appropriate feedback on their writing, and he challenges his students to grow. Even as a veteran teacher, Rudy embraces new teaching styles and instructional technology. On top of that, Rudy is our middle school yearbook advisor. In this role, he adds to a positive school culture by cataloging all the positive events within our school. His yearbook students are always busy with something, and I am not aware of them ever missing a deadline. The students love having Mr. Bilka in class,” said Cowher.

EE: Why did you become a teacher?
AB: I became a teacher to help students learn to think and be lifelong learners.

EE: Why did you choose the subject you teach?
AB: Literature and writing have always been my favorite subjects.

EE: What’s your favorite thing about teaching at Tyrone?
AB: The people, staff, and students are why I like to teach here at Tyrone.

EE: What are some of your favorite hobbies and interests?
AB: My hobbies are biking, kayaking, camping, and spending time with my family.

EE: What is some good advice you’ve been given as a teacher?
AB: My best advice as a teacher is to get students to believe in themselves and then get out of their way.

EE: What’s the hardest part of teaching and why?
AB: The hardest part of teaching is convincing students to be resilient, believe in themselves, and have a growth mindset to succeed.

EE: What are some jobs held before you got into teaching?
AB: I have had many jobs- I served in the U.S. Army for six years and worked as a pipefitter at Tyrone’s paper mill before starting my teaching career in 2006.

EE: What is something that students might be surprised to find out about you?
AB: I am a certified cave diver.

EE: What’s your favorite movie?
AB: My favorite movie has to be Mad Max.

EE: What is your spirit animal? Why?
AB: My spirit animal must be a white shark because they are tenacious survivors who never give up.