A day in the life of Dortch


Caroline Goza

Edmond Memorial High School’s chemistry teacher, Tj Dortch has caught the eye of many students. So what might a day in his life look like?

Hailey Paddock, Staff Writer

Edmond Memorial High School IA/AP (Intro to Advanced/Advanced Placement) chemistry teacher TJ Dortch is many students favorite teacher. Dortch’s AP chemistry classes consist of mostly juniors and a few seniors, and he has one hour of sophmores in Pre-AP chemistry. As difficult as this science class is, Dortch makes the subject fun and interesting. 

A day in the life of Memorial’s teacher starts off with him waking up and taking a shower, then choosing an outfit. When Dortch picks out his outfits, he starts off with a shirt (first seeing what is clean,) then what he hasn’t worn in a while and finds whatever pants are available even if that means a basic t-shirt with a blazer and jeans. Dortch’s outfit choice has also caught the eye of many students, including Memorial junior Mikayla Fairchild.

His outfits would be rated from 3-6 [out of 10], 3 being normal days when he wears school spirit type stuff or normal teacher type clothes, 6 being dress up days for swine week, homecoming, etc,” Fairchild said.

As he gets ready to leave for work, he kisses his wife goodbye then drops his kids to school before making the final stop at Memorial.

“I make certain I have everything ready for the day, then I sit down and drink my Bang,” Dortch said.

To keep high energy, Dortch drinks a caffeinated Crystal Light and an energy drink. 

“I’m not sure Dortch ever sleeps. The man starts his day with a Bang, and now that I have the ability to compare his energy from 7th hour baby chem last year and 1st hour AP chem this year, it really leads me to believe he’s just always that energetic. So either he just straight up passes out or he just kind of stands in a dark corner of his house fidgeting with something until everybody else is awake,” Fairchild said.

With the amount of caffeine he consumes, Dortch not only radiates positive energy but spreads it too. Fairchild recalls certain experiences where Dortch was just his casual energetic self.

“We only came to school two days a week (2020-2021), so naturally I did not develop a proper sleep schedule. Thus, I was always tired by the time I got to his class, but that was just an opportunity to Mr. Dortch because, as I said, he always has energy. So I would be starting to fall asleep and then he would yell and I would just violently wake up,” Fairchild said.

When it comes to lunch time Dortch normally has a sandwich to go with his caffeinated drinks.

“Just a sandwich, I’ve had sandwiches for lunch for the past 27 years,” Dortch said. 

After asking students if they were to have lunch with Dortch what it would be, junior Wenny Xu answered with homemade Chinese food. Along with food, Xu knows exactly what she would do in a day with Dortch.

“ I think it’d be fun to do a class field trip somewhere. Science museum? As juvenile as it sounds, I think that that would be quite interesting,” Xu said.

Fairchild would also like to explore science in a personal day with Dortch.

I feel like if I was spending a day with Dortch I would have to do one of two things: either something kind of childish like riding roller coasters, or we would go explore the forensics lab at UCO and talk about chemistry in the body and how to fully decompose a dead body with at home cleaning products,” Fairchild said. “That’s just kind of how it is when you talk to Dortch. It’s either a very interesting yet weird discussion, or it’s something rather naive, but you always enjoy both conversations.”

Although investigating science outside of school is something that Xu and Fairchild both would enjoy doing, Dortch spends his afternoons engaging science with tutoring after school.

 When it comes to the end of the evening Dortch packs his lunch as well as his kids lunch, reads and closes the garage door. According to one of Dortch’s closest work friends, Corey Ayers, he believes he does something completely different before bed.

“I’m assuming he works out chemistry problems on the bathroom mirror right before bed time,” Ayers said.

After hearing about a normal day in the life of Dortch, it is understood how Xu would use words such as passionate, chaotic and boisterous to describe him. Along with understanding Fairchild’s comparison between Dortch and Elmo.

“Dortch is [like] Elmo because I feel like he has to oversimplify a lot of things for some of us [me] to understand, and he always is way too excited about doing chemistry which just speaks to Elmo energy. It’s up to you to decide if he’s Elmo from Sesame Street though or Elmo from Times Square that SNL always makes a constant joke out of, or maybe he’s both,” Fairchild said. 

Memorial has other Chemistry teachers, but when Dortch stands outside his door as kids enter his classroom slapping the back of their legs with a meter stick as a welcome, people can’t help but be intrigued and want to know more about him. 

Contact Hailey Paddock at [email protected]