Hi Friends! As an educator for over a decade, I am clearly obsessed with the teaching profession. Not only do I teach in classrooms, but I also teach and advise adult learners struggling with various issues related to the human condition.
Seeing students excel is always a joy within itself. That is our ultimate goal as educators. To produce students who are ready to contribute to society as leaders for positive change and growth.
My track record goes back to 1996 when I first stepped into the classroom at Woodson Academy in Milwaukee Wisconsin. The Woodson was a troubled school with few resources and very challenging intercity students of all ages.
Meeting the Challenge
It took passion, commitment and personal sacrifice of money and time to reach some of the students. Many had no educational foundation at home and had only one parent or guardian. So spending a weekend with a student wasn’t unusual if the parent agreed. It was about going beyond the call of duty or finishing the extra mile when you felt like you had no more to give.
Teaching with passion while surrounded by knives, guns, attitudes of anger and rebellion is a task for exceptional educators, a quality in which I did not know I possessed until I discovered it in a 7th and 8th grade classroom.
The Student Resistance
The students had frightened away several teachers during the course of one semester. I was the next one they were waiting to chase away. I was obviously thrown into the fire. Although I was majoring in Education, I had no prior teaching experience, only the knowledge of the profession. I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee and was anxious to own my first classroom.
My ideal of the perfect classroom was quickly shattered when I encountered the students. Attitudes! Attitudes! Defiant Attitudes are what I encountered for days and weeks. I broke up more fights in one school day than many teachers could imagine. The end of some school days left me in a daze of oblivion. It was difficult to function after work. All I wanted to do was head home for the couch.
The Gratifying Reward
However, because of passion and perseverance, I gained the respect of a few students who appreciated my resiliency, either out of inspiration or sympathy. Whichever it was I didn’t care. It was a sign of progress. By experimenting with best practices in classroom management and adapting a personal philosophy of my own, I discovered a style and an approach to teachers that helped established an appealing and excitable learning environment for my students at Woodson Academy.
Well Worth the Effort
My time, sacrifices, and passion paid off when I receive several hugs from the graduating class, many of which went off to college and are now positive citizens in society. I often find on my Facebook page some words of appreciation from a former student or two who never forget a teacher who refused to run away.