Participation Is Everything Engaging Teachers Engage Students
This month, we celebrate a special day that is near and dear to my heart (and no, it isn’t Be Kind to Lawyers Day, which was April 14 in case you were wondering). Teachers’ Day is May 5. Not only does this remind me of all the great teachers I’ve had in my life, but it also makes me think of all the hard work my wife, Wendy, has done and continues to do in the elementary school where she works, and all the work that teachers are doing to try and educate children remotely with all this craziness going on right now. For many years, Wendy taught the fourth grade before going back to school to get her master’s degree in administration. She wanted to make a greater impact in more students’ lives than she could directly touch being a classroom teacher. For the last few years, she has served as an assistant principal for in an elementary school in Plano. Wendy has been doing a remarkable job — she absolutely loves what she does and has her eyes set on becoming a main principal someday. Since we all went into lockdown, she has actually worked harder now than before because with “work from home” policies in place, she is essentially working from sunup to sundown. As things get ironed out, I imagine that will change, but her workday sure looks a lot different than it did a few months ago. (Although, that could probably be said about most of us.)
I remember Mrs. Middleton teaching cursive in second grade. Mrs. Corbin in third grade was my best friend’s mother. My fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Rutledge, was always playing games with us, like history trivia based on the readings we did in class. I’ve always been really interested in history, and these games were a lot of fun. That was the year I read the entire history book before Thanksgiving break — I really loved world history! In the sixth grade, I got Mrs. Browning, who was my absolute favorite. My dad had given me an origami book in third or fourth grade. But for some reason, I just couldn’t understand the instructions. I just wasn’t old enough to understand what the book was trying to teach me. It was in Mrs. Browning’s class when things just clicked. I started having a blast making different origami pieces. The logo of the firm is an origami crane, which I made a lot of in the sixth grade. As a budding entrepreneur, I sold them, and some other animals such as bears and frogs, to other kids in the class who wanted them. In high school, there were a couple specific teachers whose classes I enjoyed. One, Mr. Dersham, taught government and history, and he also participated in Civil War reenactments. Whenever our class started talking about the Civil War, he would show up for class in his full Union soldier uniform and lecture. He always taught in a way we could all understand, and he made potentially boring historical events feel alive. Mr. Dersham was also our sponsor for the YMCA Youth and Government program at my school. Each year, he’d take a class to the state capital building in Austin to participate. Depending on our interests, we would participate in the legislature, in the judicial branch, as a member of the news media, or — if you were elected
— as a governor. I was always on the judicial side of things, first participating as an attorney trying cases and later as a judge. All these teachers helped increase my interest in their subjects by bringing variety and participation into their classrooms. That’s something I see with my own kids, too. If they aren’t engaged with the subject, they’ll have no desire to learn more about it. The teachers who really connect with their students help them learn much more. For Teachers’ Day this year, I want to thank all the educators who have influenced my life and all the other teachers who bring that same amount of interest into their classrooms year after year and celebrate the teachers who are putting in long hours right now, making sure that kids still keep learning in the time of COVID-19.
When I was in school, I had a few amazing teachers who were as dedicated as my wife is.
“All these teachers helped increase my interest in their subjects by bringing variety and participation into their classrooms.”
AaronMillerLaw.com | 1 -Aaron Miller
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