physical therapy and rehabilitation September 2018
3600 Miller Road, Flint, MI 48503 • 810.620.8042 • horizonptflint.com
WHAT MAKES A GREAT EDUCATOR? A Teacher and a Principal
Summer is officially over and all the kids are back in school. My oldest son won’t be starting preschool until next year, but I still find myself thinking about the back-to-school season, even though I haven’t set foot in a classroommyself in some time. So much of our young lives are spent in school under the guidance of teachers. Is it any wonder we still think about our favorite educators even as adults? The best teacher I ever had was my fifth grade teacher at Coolidge Elementary School. Mr. Napoleon Demps was a stern man with a box haircut, but he was also funny and well-liked. Everyone loved being in his class. Mr. Demps was one of those rare, genuine teachers who was able to really connect to his students and make us feel excited and welcome when we came to class. “Great teachers help their students cultivate a desire to accomplish, and that’s something that will help a lot in life.” Coolidge Elementary was also where I knew another great educator: the principal, James Bracey. He was stern and no- nonsense, as any good principal should be, but he was always very complimentary to his students. I remember howMr. Bracey would acknowledge me in the halls and always make a point to encourage his students to work hard. As a kid, you really believed he wanted you to do well and reach the next level.
My fifth grade teacher, Mr. Demps
Suddenly, you’re working on assignments not to avoid getting in trouble, but because you want to work. Great teachers help their students cultivate a desire to accomplish, and that’s something that will help a lot in life. As a physical therapist, I’m often trying to educate and motivate my own patients. I know it can be challenging to follow through on treatment, especially when you feel physically exhausted and a little hopeless. It’s my job to keep my patients motivated by teaching themwhy they are having problems in the first place and by identifying what their goals are. For example, I work with people who really want to be able to pick up their grandkids again. First, they need to realize their grandkid weighs at least 30 pounds, so they have to get to the point where they are strong enough to lift a 30-pound weight. That’s not easy, but when patients remember their goal of reconnecting with family, it sparks their own fire to accomplish more and work hard to get the job done. As we get back into the school year, I wish all the students and teachers the best of luck. Students, I hope you have a great teacher this year and that you learn something you’ll value for the rest of your life. And teachers, good luck out there. May you have the energy to keep motivating students until summer vacation comes again.
I think what makes great teachers stand out and find a place in their students’ hearts for years to come is their ability to motivate. Some teachers walk into a classroom, and it’s all about making sure the work they assign gets done and sending students about their business. The great teachers are able to spark a fire in you.
-Dr. Jerome Adams
My principal, Mr. Bracey
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