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Sierra woodshop teacher also an ultramarathoner
Sierra High woodshop teacher Michael Postma goes the extra mile for his students in the classroom. Outside of it, he specializes in the extra mile. Postma is an ultramarathoner, logging at least 80 miles a week in preparation for his races all over the country.

From teaching woodshop to running marathons, Sierra High’s Michael Postma is the definition of patience and hard work. Being Sierra High’s one and only woodshop teacher, Mr. Postma instructs students how to build hands-on projects in the shop. Having the patience to work with the students while making sure they’re following the instructions when using the equipment in the shop shows how devoted Mr. Postma is to the safety of his students. That patience and attention to detail extends into his personal life. Having to run up to 80 miles every week, Mr. Postma makes sure he’s prepared to run his next ultramarathon, a 12-hour race located in Reedley. We caught up with Sierra’s Marathon Man to talk about his everyday life in the shop and on the road, as well as his infatuation with a pop culture icon. 


Q: What’s with the Chuck Norris jokes? 


A: Chuck Norris? Man, I don’t even remember. I’ve been doing those for years. That started at Escalon High, probably eight years ago or so I’m guessing. a couple years before I came here. We all know that Chuck Norris is the bomb. 


Q: What does it take to be prepared for an ultramarathon? 


A: You must run a lot of miles every week. I do up to 80 miles every week which usually consists of like 25 miles Saturday, 15 miles on Sunday, and then 5 to 8 miles on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursdays. So yeah, if you don’t like to run, don’t run marathons or ultra-marathons. 


Q: When did you decide you wanted to pursue a career in teaching woodshop? 


A: Teaching woodshop happened by accident because I used to have a cabinet shop because my dad used to have one. Well, my dad still does. I worked for my dad, and then when I got married, I had my own company. My wife is a teacher so in 2007 when the market went south, she said “Why don’t you become a teacher?” So, I became a math teacher, not a shop teacher. I was a math teacher working at Escalon High and they needed someone to teach woodshop and they found out that I used to do construction. That’s how I started teaching woodshop.  


Q: What’s your favorite thing about teaching woodshop in high school? 


A: Teaching woodshop in high school? Well, when I was in high school I didn’t like English and I didn’t like math. I didn’t like all those classes. I did like shop classes, so it’s fun to teach kids hands-on stuff.  


Q: How has COVID affected you as a teacher and how you teach woodshop? 


A: I hate online learning. It’s kind of tricky to teach woodshop when you guys are at home, so it’s not as much fun for you guys either. You have to do a lot more paperwork type of stuff, especially at the beginning of the year.  


Q: How have you adapted to it? 


A: Using Microsoft Teams more, doing more PowerPoint type stuff instead of using the white board. Just stuff like that. 


Q: Who do you look up to the most? 


A: Besides Chuck Norris? My dad and some of my friends that I grew up with. That’s about it.