Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Monday, July 16, 2012
Thursday, July 12, 2012
Most all of us have that one teacher we recall fondly and refer to as our “favorite teacher.” These teachers made a positive impact on our life and typically we found ourselves liking the subject area they taught even if it was not previously our favorite subject.
I am thankful for all my teachers, but I too had a favorite teacher who recently retired and I have been thinking about the impact she made on the lives of young people. I have been fortunate to keep in touch with this teacher due to working in the school business and the fact she took a job with Alabama Science in Motion helping area teachers conduct labs for their classes. Ms. Nancy Giles was an outstanding teacher and I took every class she taught including biology and zoology. One example that demonstrates the type of things she would do for her students occurred while we were on a field trip. Our zoology class collected cans around the school to raise money for our field trips and we were fortunate enough to take a couple of trips a year.
This particular trip was very low budget because we drove out to the Wildlife Checking Station in Black Warrior Management Area in
on the opening day of
gun season. In the management area, each deer must be aged and tagged by the
wildlife biologist assigned to that area. We were able to talk with the
biologist and learn a lot about biology and the job of a wildlife biologist.
Coincidentally, or not, one of our classmates eventually graduated from Bankhead National Forest Auburn with a degree in
wildlife biology. Our class also had the
opportunity to witness several deer being aged and examined to learn hands-on
about mammal anatomy. Of course nearly every boy in our class was a deer hunter
so this was an especially enjoyable trip. The trip in itself was great, but
what happened after the trip is what really stands out. One of the hunters
brought a deer by and (like we did every hunter) we asked how far from the road
he field dressed the deer. Of course we were glad when he told us the
“remnants” were not very far from the road. We decided a great idea would be
for us to bring these back to the checking station and do a little hands on
examination of the “inner workings” of the deer.
Ms. Giles agreed to allow us to bring back the deer intestines to show the rest of the class. A couple of us loaded up and went with the hunter (riding in the back of the truck in freezing weather) to bring back the prize. Of course the fact we were able to load up in the back of a truck with an armed stranger and ride in the mountains in freezing temperatures shows you how much times have changed, but that is another story. We brought back the deer intestines and did a little examination thinking this would be the end of the lesson. However, Ms. Giles saw a chance to go a little bit further. She brought the intestines back to school and spent a great deal of time that night taking a water hose and cleaning out the intestines, laying them on a lab table in the relative position they would have been found in the deer. Consequently, the next day in class we were able to conduct a much more thorough examination of the deer parts greatly enhancing our understanding of internal anatomy.
I am sure this is not how she wanted to spend her night, but I still remember her efforts to this day. Selfless acts like this made a lasting impression on her students through the years. Although the last several years of her career were spent working with teachers more than students she made a difference in the education of students by the many teachers she helped mentor and train serving with ASIM. I am sure we all have stories about our teachers who went above and beyond the call of duty to help students learn valuable lessons both in and out of the classroom. Ms. Giles has retired and hopefully will enjoy her much deserved rest, but the impact on the lives of the young people she taught will continue for years.
Posted by Tommy at 11:43 AM
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Between Teacher and Child
I have come to a frightening conclusion,
I am the decisive element in the classroom.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
As a teacher I possess tremendous power to make a child’s life miserable or joyous,
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration.
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated, and a child is humanized or de-humanized.
Posted by Tommy at 7:04 AM
Monday, July 2, 2012
A plaque in the Library of Congress reads, “The foundation of every state is the education of its youth.” Certainly education is one of the most important aspects of a civilized, democratic society. Most everyone agrees education is important but many different opinions exist concerning the best way obtain a quality education.
Exciting, and sometimes scary things are taking place at the national, state, and local levels that have the potential for great change in our educational system. A nationwide curriculum called the Common Core has been adopted by 46 states including the state of
Alabama. No Child Left Behind still has many
unanswered questions and revisions are currently being discussed in Washington.
Great leadership is crucial to positive change.
Alabama has a new State Superintendent of Education and has a new Superintendent. Our
systems are in good hands with these two leaders providing direction and
guidance for our school system. Limestone County
forward to addressing the changes and challenges to be faced this year and the
years to come. Times of great change can be disconcerting, but the potential for
making our school system even better far out weighs the uncertainty of change. Ardmore
Posted by Tommy at 3:36 PM