- Posted October 1, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
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Retired Teacher Shares Back to School Advice for Teachers, Parents and Students
“To make a notable first impression, teachers should aim to dress more formerly than the students in their classrooms,” expressed Fagg. “If you dress like your students, or informally, you are not distinguishing yourself as a leader or an authoritative figure. Over the years I have seen a steady decline in the degree of respect that students have for their teachers, the classroom and school in general. As the old adage goes, dress for success, and thus perhaps you will gain the respect from your students that has seemingly escaped today’s educational environments. That being said, it is also important to behave like a leader and not try to be like or fit in with the students in your classroom. You can, and I do recommend that you do, establish a supportive and caring relationship with your students. This will help them in their pursuit of a higher education.”
Fagg has maintained lasting relationships with many of her students over the years. So strong was her relationship with one class, that they decided it would be fun to plan an educational trip to Europe, during which they visited eight countries in the course of three weeks. She was also interested in her students’ creative abilities and in getting feedback on classroom work. She insists that the classroom cannot be all work; there has to be an element of fun. Fagg would solicit the opinions of her students and listen to them as they expressed interests in learning about particular topics or shared their favorite styles of learning.
“I really enjoyed watching my students present projects, plays or educational presentations,” said Fagg. “They put a lot of imaginative thought into how they would share their work. It was always a delight to see how differently each of their minds worked. When we practiced plays in the classroom, I would let them be innovative in what they wanted to say and let the creativity flow. As they worked on these assignments, they had to be independent and learn to do things on their own. As a teacher, it was my job to teach not only educational lessons, but to teach life lessons as well.”
While schoolwork is important, Fagg did not want to bog her students down entirely. She wanted them to have time for extracurricular activities, as she felt involvement in other areas of the school were equally important. She supported many of her students by attending sporting events and competitions for various school groups. She was friends with many of her students’ parents and would spend time with them at school events and would occasionally enjoy dinner in their home. Most of the parents were involved with their childrens’ lives, keeping up with their grades and their level of aptitude in the classroom.
“It is so important for parents and guardians to be involved with their childrens’ academics,” said Fagg. “I had great respect for the parents and guardians of the students in my classes, as they were supportive and encouraging. It was a pleasure building great relationships with my students and their parents. I highly recommend parents, guardians and teachers make an effort get to know one another.”
Fagg genuinely enjoyed being with her students and said that they had a great respect for her. She did not experience many behavioral issues’, but when she did, she recalls that disciplining her students was the most unfavorable part of teaching. She says the overall structure and guidance at Beaumont High School really encouraged a respectful environment, so she did not have to discipline students very often.
“It is a wonderful thing that so many young people are in college today to become teachers and role models for students,” expressed Fagg. “It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher and lead a classroom full of students. All children need a basic education to do well in life. Teachers are the ones who encourage students to do things that challenge to them, push students to do better each time and want to succeed, and instill good habits in them that are a great preparation for college. Starting out may be a challenge, but you will find ways to incorporate fun, creativity and enthusiasm into the classroom routines. Just remember, it cannot be all work and no play. It is important to build positive and supportive relationships with your students and try to incorporate life lessons into the curriculum as well.”
“Frances Fagg and many other residents of Parkway Place have advice from a myriad of experiences in their lifetime to share,” said Linda Fitzhugh, life enrichment coordinator at Parkway Place. “With the new school year starting, it is enjoyable to hear stories, best practices and recommendations from the retired teachers who reside in the community. Teachers play a positive role in the lives of children and continue to impact society in an encouraging and constructive way even after they retire.”
- My life