Third in a series.
The Troup County School System Teachers of the Year were asked to write about their favorite teaching moment from this year. The following are the middle school teachers, listed in alphabetical order by teacher’s last name.
Anthandus Beauford, Gardner Newman Middle School:
“My favorite teaching moment happened when one of my students, who is deaf and mute, became interested in learning my subject. This student signed to his interpreter on the first day that he did not want to do the work in my class. As a teacher, I feel it is important to find ways to get students interested in learning, no matter what their background is. I told him that he was required to work in my class. As a teacher I often try to find fun and interesting was to teach my students. As the semester went on he became very engaged in his work. His favorite assignment was the day I taught my students how to make their own business cards. He enjoyed this assignment so much that he brought in extra paper so that he could print some more.”
Faye Benjamin, Gardner Newman Middle School:
“My favorite teaching moment this year happened a few weeks ago when I was teaching on the subject of ‘Goal setting and Decision making.’ I was explaining to the class what a “goal” is, telling them that a goal is something you aim for that takes planning and work.
During the next class, we were reviewing the subject and, upon being asked the definition of ‘goal,’ very few, if any, could remember the definition. Feeling very frustrated and like I wasn’t getting through to them, I began telling the students how they should pay attention in class, take notes, and listen with purpose to remember. At any rate, I spent most of that class getting onto them for not remembering something that I thought was so simple and easy to remember. I finally started asking at random, ‘pop questions’, to them, ‘What is a goal?’ I wanted them to know so readily that they could pop the answer back spontaneously. It seemed to be a real challenge getting them to just recall the answer.
About two or three days later, I was in the Media Center when the Media Specialist came over to me and started jubilantly to tell me about a class that was in the Media Center and she started to talk to them about ‘goals”. She had asked them the definition of a goal. Kids raised their hands, and when she called on one of the students, the girl said, “It is something you aim for that takes planning and work.” This teacher was so excited that she had gotten the correct answer so fast, and she asked the student how she had known that answer. The student told her she had learned it in my class. I was the one who was the most excited person in the Media Center that day!
The next day as I was going to my classroom, another teacher came to me in the hall to tell me she was so excited that in her class she had asked the students if they knew the definition of a “goal”. A student responded, saying ‘It is something you aim for that takes planning and work.” That teacher could not believe the student just knew it right off the bat. Upon being questioned, the student said, “We learned it in _____________class!’ Hearing the same story the second time was even more thrilling to me, and actually raised the status of that small teaching moment to my most memorable of the year!??”
Kelly Brooks, Callaway Middle School:
“So far this year, my favorite teaching moment came after a parent/student conference. We met with a parent because we didn’t feel that a certain student was working up to his potential. I told the parent that I knew her son was capable of doing so much better in my class but that he was more concerned with socializing when he should have been listening or doing his own work. She assured me that he would turn that around. In the weeks after that meeting, I could see that he was doing his homework and answering questions in class more often. After a few successes with the math work, it appeared that he had finally reached a point where he was intrinsically motivated to do better each time. With continued perseverance, this student has gone from having a below average grade in his class to having the highest average in his class. It is exciting to give him an assignment, watch him glance over it, and see the spark in his eye that shows he is excited to get started on it because he knows he can work through the problems and understand what he’s doing.”
Terri Herndon, Callaway Middle School:
“In 8th grade ELA we spend a lot of time teaching the writing process. Once we go through the components that should be included in a paper, the students put them together to write their own persuasive and expository essays. Then we spend one class period exchanging essays and peer editing. We do this by color coding the different parts that are found in the papers. Once we complete this process, the students are given back their own paper to see what was missing. They love to see a very colorful paper.
Earlier in the year when we did this, most of my students were happy with their papers. I had a few that were disappointed. They didn’t like that their papers were not very “colorful”. After class they asked if they could rewrite their papers. Of course, I said yes. What teacher would ever turn down a student wanting to better their writing? The next day they brought me their papers and anxiously awaited the results. This time when they saw their color coded papers, they were very happy. I was too! Who would have thought that a simple thing like color coding a paper would make them want to revise their writing? Thanks to the colors, they knew exactly what was missing and were able to correct it with no problems. Secretly, I was ecstatic that they finally understood the parts of a good essay and had that internal desire to better their writing skills.”
Rebecca Mitchell, Long Cane Middle School:
“I must honestly say that I do not have just one favorite teaching moment from this year. Each day is different with new challenges and rewards. I am always amazed at the progress my students make and I thoroughly enjoy observing their achievements. We completed a lab exercise towards the beginning of the school year dealing with osmosis and watching the excitement in my students’ eyes was very gratifying. They enjoyed working in groups, with each member assigned a particular task. I believe they felt a positive sense of responsibility for their own education and obtained an understanding that I am not the only educator in the classroom. They worked together to complete the lab and answered follow-up questions regarding their results. Hands-on learning is very engaging and the outcomes are more often longer lasting than traditional teaching. I strive to incorporate this teaching style frequently and believe that it will have a lifelong impression for my students.”
Larry Ninas, Long Cane Middle School:
“As an SST Chairperson, I work with two students on reading fluency. Three days a week I meet with each student for them to read aloud to me. They read half of the non-fiction passage to me and take two copies of the passage home to read the remainder to one of their parents. One of my students is an ESOL student. Although we have made a little progress on his reading fluency, in November I was beginning to think I need to find a new strategy to help him improve his reading fluency. Each Monday, Wednesday and Thursday I pulled him for 15-20 minutes from his social studies class to have him read to me, or to administer a Reading Fluency probe.
One day during November his social studies teacher stopped me in the hallway during planning to talk with me about his progress. She asked what I was doing to help him, and I explained briefly the intervention I was using. She then told me that since I started the intervention his attitude in class has steadily improved. He was and is completing all of his work, volunteering to read aloud in class, and is making A’s and B’s on all of his tests. She told me, ‘Whatever you are doing with him, keep it up because it has made a dramatic difference in his classroom behavior and performance.’ I continue to meet with this student knowing my diligence and his hard work are paying dividends in class.”
Katina Ross, The HOPE Academy:
As a teacher, I always have a memorable experience. The memorable experience may be good or bad. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th grade math at The HOPE Academy. I know from experience that math is the “least favorite subject” for most students. I had a student tell me on the first day of class that he did not like math because he was not good at it. I told him he is not the first student and he wouldn’t be the last student to tell me that.
I promised him that I would not force him to like it, but I only wanted him to give me his best effort every time and I guaranteed him he would change his perspective about math. We were learning a new concept that involved fractions. This student still did not have a complete understanding of fractions. I knew that he would struggle with the new concept if he did not fully understand fractions. During an intervention/study skills class, I worked one on one with him. When we were done, he said “Thank you Mrs. Ross for taking the time to help me and making math fun.” It ain’t so bad after all. He was even able to help a classmate while I worked with other students.