A high school chemistry teacher from Charlottesville, Virginia...

Michael Farabaugh

Students: Good luck on Jeopardy! Mr. Farabaugh! [Students ignite a hydrogen-filled balloon, which bursts in a ball of flame.]

What is the most rewarding aspect of being a teacher?
Well, one of the most rewarding aspects of being a teacher is that when I work with students who are really confused--and, of course, that happens from time to time in chemistry class--and they finally get that concept that I've been working with them, and they really understand it, and they go from the "Huh?" to "Ah, I understand it," that's a really exciting part of being a teacher.

How did you prepare to be on Jeopardy!?
Well, what I did to prepare is, I obviously watched Jeopardy! at home, and I tried to imagine what it was like to sort stand at the podium and, y'know, practice with a--a little clicky-pen, and the same time, when I was on the computer, I would look at old shows, and try to go through different categories, and when I got to a point where I thought, "I don't really know much about this topic," I would start to make flashcards for myself and sort of review them on a--electronic flashcards from time to time.

How have your students reacted to you being on Jeopardy!?
Well, my students were very excited. In fact, they just--they really are happy for me and they are just so excited about, y'know, watching me on television. Uh, I've got four daughters at home who are cheering me on and giving me lots of encouragement and saying "Good luck and we hope you do well" so I'm looking forward to, uh, being able to watch the show with them.

...

How does it feel to be a finalist in the Jeopardy! Teachers Tournament?
Well, it feels great because, I just--I have a chance to keep playing, and I'm really enjoying--I'm really having a lot of fun playing this game, so I'm excited about getting to play a couple more games of Jeopardy!

If you win the $100,000 prize, what will you do with your winnings?
Well, I have four daughters, and, y'know, they're all going to be going to college at some point, so it's easy to say that this money will go toward the Farabaugh family, uh, education fund. [Chuckles]

What would Alex Trebek be like as a teacher?
I think that Alex would be a good teacher, because he wouldn't stand for nonsense, silliness in the classroom. I think he would be a really good, uh, disciplinarian, for sure. [Laughs]

What's it like to compete against your fellow teachers?
Well, you can tell in the beginning of the game--I think we got to the first, uh, commercial break--we were all pretty much--maybe a $200 difference separated all three players--so it was exciting to know that no matter who won the game, we were all really close together and we had a lot of fun over the last couple--y'know, getting to know each other. And, uh, I was really proud of the fact that anyone who would win this tournament would do a great job.

Do you have any special messages for those back home who are cheering you on?
Well, I guess I'm gonna say thanks for watching, and I'm just, uh, really pleased to be representing Monticello High School and Charlottesville. It's a lot of fun.

"This chemistry teacher has been making things fizz, smoke, and explode for 14 years. From Charlottesville, Virginia, this is..."

2012-B Teachers Tournament 1st runner-up (semifinalist by wildcard): $50,000.

Michael teaches at Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

JBoard user name: ChemTeacher

Michael appeared in the following 4 archived games:
#6482, aired 2012-11-20 Kate Wilson vs. Colby Burnett vs. Michael Farabaugh 2012-B Teachers Tournament final game 2.
#6481, aired 2012-11-19 Kate Wilson vs. Colby Burnett vs. Michael Farabaugh 2012-B Teachers Tournament final game 1.
#6478, aired 2012-11-14 Michael Farabaugh vs. Whitney Collins vs. John Hines 2012-B Teachers Tournament semifinal game 1.
#6473, aired 2012-11-07 Colby Burnett vs. Michael Farabaugh vs. Diana North 2012-B Teachers Tournament quarterfinal game 1.

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