In today’s world, the dynamics of a classroom have changed since we were once pupils. As educators, we have to deal not only with classroom management, developing curriculum, and school functions, but we are competing with cell phones, iPods, and Nintendo’s. Twenty years ago, faculty only had to deal with students turning in late papers, and the occasional “my dog ate my homework.” Today, we have to be worried about guns, drugs, and students who tune out.
To be good at something you must have three things: heart, determination, and experience. I have spent the past fifteen years working, gaining experience in traditional and non-traditional teaching methods. I have spent three years working in Washington DC learning from leading, cutting-edge experts in the field of teaching, classroom management, and student interaction. I have sharpened not only my teaching skills but also my knowledge in my field of expertise. I have more knowledge, training, and “real life” experience than most tenured faculty who have been teaching history, international relations, and government from a book.
As an instructor, I have one simple code in which I teach from: If we are not having fun, we are not learning. School should be something that students want to come to, classes they enjoy, and teachers who care about their well-being. If you walk into my classroom, you will hear people talking. It is not because they are not listening to the lecture; it is because they are participating in the discussion in either small groups or one-on-one. History, international relations, and government are more than just people, places, and dates. It is about ideas, events, and discoveries that build nations. It is about understanding our past and present so that they can be prepared for their future.
The single most important goal in my life has been to serve my country. From my earliest childhood memories, I learned the value of “Duty, Honor, Country” from my family. My father was a career soldier, and my mother was a political consultant. They taught me the importance of service and giving back to a grateful nation. Through them, I have taught students with disabilities, worked on political campaigns, volunteered my time to help restore decommissioned military aircraft, coached high school football, work in Washington DC, and most important of them all… give back to ones in need.
What does it mean for you to teach?