Teaching is not just a job, it is my vocation
On September 11, 2001, I was sitting in my computer room thinking about my daughter’s birthday and preparing a proposal for a prospective consulting client. I had just finished going back to school to finish a degree in Information Systems Management after 20 years in business. On September 11, 2002, I was sitting in my classroom thinking about my students.
I have 11 years of classroom experience and two years experience as a media/technology specialist. I have a Master's Degree in education. BIG DEAL. What sets me apart is my passion for teaching.
Teaching is about building relationships
Many teachers shun letting students into their life. I think building personal relationships helps leads students to trust that you have their best interests at heart. When students believe that, they are more open to instruction and they learn more. Perhaps that is why I still hear from students I taught in fourth grade more than a decade after they left my class.
When I went to a high school graduation a few years ago, a former student paid me the biggest compliment I've ever received. He told me, "Thank you for being my teacher. You taught me to expect more from myself and never to settle for less than my best."
Motivation is the key component
Sucess in education and in life is built with self motivation. Or like my Daddy used to say, "doing what you don't want to do when you don't want to do it." Many students I have taught entered my room with a history of academic failure. These students usually had behavior problems. Sometimes the academic issues were a result of the behavior. Sometimes the behavior was used to mask the academic problems. No matter. The bottom line is that students have to believe they can succeed in order to do so.
Having someone believe in you is the foundation for believing in yourself. Research has shown a direct link between attitude towards school and academic success. The key is creating some success to build on.
I have high expectations for students and I do not accept excuses or lack of effort. My experience has convinced me that every student, regardless of background, can be successful in school. However, success cannot be achieved by accepting the status quo. I tell students (and parents) the truth. No problem can be fixed until it is acknowledged.