This is Skippyjon Jones, my hero.
He's a Siamese cat that thinks he's a Spanish-speaking Chihuahua. I love him because he has an imagination much larger than his gigantic head.
That and he's super naughty like Dennis the Menace. I like that.
Skippyjon Jones reminds me, on those days I need to be reminded, why I love being a teacher. Skippy JJ is full of curiosity, fun, and adventure. Just like kids.
When I was a kid I wanted to become a teacher so I could boss people around and make them listen to me. As I grew up and started making that dream a reality, my motives changed and became more about wanting to inspire kids to learn, and more importantly, to never stop learning.
I think I got that inspiration from my own teachers growing up. Thinking back, I'm pretty sure it started in junior high where I was exposed to many different teachers and their respective teaching styles. I had teachers who were passionate about their subjects and teachers who made me laugh.
Among the teachers I loved, I remember Mr. St. Onge most vividly. He was a nerdy hippy, if you can imagine that, and he taught eighth grade history. Sadly, I don't remember much about what I learned in that class, but I do remember watching Mr. St. Onge act out history before my eyes. He was so passionate about his subject he made history come alive.
He also had some pretty imaginative classroom management strategies. For example, when kids would dare fall asleep in his class, he woke them up with smelling salts under their noses. It was extremely entertaining to watch a sleeping student wake up and be immediately alert.
Mr. St. Onge maximized the entertainment value inherent in his subjects as well as his subject. He also hated gum in his class, so when a student was caught chewing gum, he would make them spit it out into an old cigar box. At the end of the year he would present the disgusting gum and germ filled cigar box to the student who had contributed the most gum to the blob in the box. It was nauseatingly disgusting, but very, very memorable.
I appreciated Mr. St. Onge's personality and I wanted to be him. Except without the nerdy hippy thing going on. I wanted to teach and laugh with my students--and have a personality.
Oh how I wanted a personality. So. Badly.
I think that's part of what I enjoyed most as I started taking college classes. Not only was I exposed to a whole world of information I never even knew existed, but there were all these amazing, inspiring people, people with varied personalities, imparting that knowledge. It was an educational playground, and I didn't want to get off the merry-go-round.
From the first day I started teaching, I have strived to be myself around my students. I want my students to see the humor in everyday things and to learn to appreciate the unique personalities of all the people around them. I want to laugh every day.
I want to make them wear sarcastic signs when they have to go potty.
Actually, this was my attempt at curbing some of the frequent trips to the restroom. It's much less cumbersome than the clown shoes I used to make my students wear to the restroom. Initially the sign backfired on me because everyone wanted to wear it. Thankfully the novelty has worn off.
I am very comfortable teaching with laughter and sarcasm because that is who I am, but the reason I teach is to inspire my students to learn and to want to learn more. I want them to know there is a whole big world out there just waiting for them to explore, there are so many things they don't even know they don't know, and they can have so much fun learning about those things.
My teachers did it for me, and I am inspired to pay it forward. I'm in such an important position to be able to inspire my students to really Be All That They Can Be. Not to steal the ARMY's most excellent retired slogan, but it really sums it up nicely.
I want my students to really feel how much I believe in them and how amazing I think they are. Even though I tell them all the time, I don't think they really get it, so I have this quote up in my classroom, in hopes that it will be etched into their memories forever. It's my favorite quote because it expresses what I want my students to know and remember for the rest of their lives.
My passion for teaching and learning is shared by Capella University, a rigorous and supportive learning community that transforms education into work that makes a difference in the lives of others. Check out their graduates' stories to see what some of these amazing students are doing with their lives and how they're making a difference. At Capella, students develop the knowledge to help others reach their potential. Your degree can change more lives than just your own!
Go forth young Jedi. Be AMAZING.
Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did they influence you?
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