I agree with the principles behind the Common Core State Standards for Math and the Grit teaching method. All students are capable of learning Math well, if differentiation is used to target all types of learning styles within each group of students, and those students are effectively taught not to fear failure. Nobody can avoid failure all of the time, but analyzing each failure and persevering through multiple attempts will improve a student’s ability to avoid failure in the future. Finally, fostering mutual respect between parents, teachers and students is critical to long-term academic success.
My success as a teacher is due in large measure to the wide variety of educational experiences I’ve had. In the Army, I went to school five days a week for eight hours a day until I had a thorough understanding of electronic communications theory and proved it through practical application on real-world equipment. In college, I was given much more flexibility to work on projects with experienced professors. While employed, I was constantly enrolled in professional development courses and certification programs. As a life-long learner, I’ve used my learning skills to educate myself through online software, library research and interviewing.
I was given an opportunity to learn about teaching Middle School students basic computer programming with a software program called Squeak Etoys. My students learned to write software scripts by creating visual objects and then telling them what to do. For instance, a student could draw a car and tell it to drive forward, turn, or even to chase another object. Scripting required the use of variables and Math, so I was able to incorporate classroom lessons. Although most did well, it was clear that they would need to continue learning the program every year in order to realize the expected learning growth.
I’m an environmentalist, so I joined environmental clubs in High School and college. While teaching at Southeastern Community College, I also participated in the Environmental Action Club with other faculty and students. We gave awards to local activists and business owners to recognize achievements. It was also a friendly forum to discuss jobs and the college’s environmental programs.