Since my children graduated from high school and left home to pursue their dreams, it has been hard to get everyone home at the same time. This year, all four of my children were able to travel home for spring break. Having them all together reminded me of how unique each child is and, for the three who are teachers, how unique their classrooms must be as well. Being intrigued by the many different classrooms I have visited across the State of Florida, I decided to ask them individually how their educational experiences and teachers have impacted their instructional practices.
Take a look at what they had to say:
Robbie, Mathematics Teacher at Carver Middle School, Leesburg, Florida
Bill Carter, 8th grade math and Algebra 1 Honors, Carver Middle School, Leesburg, Florida
I loved how Mr. Carter taught mathematics using music. His passion and gifts made math interesting every day. Turning the song “YMCA” into “Y=X” to teach slope is something I remember and use in my classroom to teach the content as well! I actually invited Mr. Carter to visit my classroom, and he shared one of my favorite math projects, which I plan to use this year.
John Arnold, 9th grade Honors English, Leesburg High School, Leesburg, Florida
English classes were never my favorite, except for his. His passion and excitement for what he taught was contagious. I worked hard to live up to his high expectations, and, as a result, I excelled in his class. I want to inspire my students to do the same – work hard and be successful!
Anthony, Physical Education, Lakeview Centennial High School, Dallas, Texas
Zach Criss, Secondary English, Oscar Dean Wyatt High School, Fort Worth, Texas
One technique I still use is about classroom management. Coach Criss taught me to ask myself the following questions when dealing with a student who is disrupting a classroom:
Is the student’s behavior keeping the individual from learning?
Is the student’s behavior keeping other students from learning?
Is the student’s behavior keeping me from teaching?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, the student’s behavior should be addressed immediately. If not, I can afford to wait to address it. For example, if the student is unintentionally tapping his hands on the desk, I would address the behavior. Conversely, if a student has a hat on and I missed it at the start of class, I would not stop teaching to have him remove it; I would address it later. As educators, we sometimes disrupt the flow of the class to address things that don’t affect instruction. Using these three questions has helped me keep my instruction moving by avoiding unnecessary interruptions.
Rebecca, Kindergarten, Hsinchu International School, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Annette Roberts, Kindergarten, and Judy Holmes, Curriculum Specialist, Leesburg Elementary School, Florida
When I taught Kindergarten at Leesburg Elementary, I was a beginning teacher. I learned so much from all of my colleagues, but especially Annette Roberts and Judy Holmes, who happens to be my aunt. They encouraged me and taught me to be an engaging, academics-focused teacher. I benefited greatly from the strategies they shared to get my students involved in classroom discussions. Prior to working with them, I spent the majority of my time in the classroom talking. Today, my classroom is constantly filled with the sound of young voices.
In addition to these two amazing women, I am most thankful for my mother, of course! I appreciate the example she set as a teacher and as a person. She is someone who continually supports me and is ALWAYS looking to help others. I'm thankful for the amazing educator she is and the motivation she gives me to be a better teacher.
I am so proud that my children decided to become educators. They teach different subjects and different grade levels, but they all use their individual strengths to reach their students. I know they are impacting future generations and inspiring their students to achieve their academic and personal goals. After hearing their heartfelt reflections on the educators who impacted their teaching practices, I couldn’t help but encourage them to express their gratitude to these teachers.
Are there educators or other mentors that affected your teaching practices? Perhaps you should take some time to thank one of your previous teachers as well.