If you didn’t know, we have a Classroom Champions classroom in our own backyard of Washington, DC! Mr. Clemons‘ class at Imagine Hope Community Charter School has had such a successful year with their Athlete Mentor April Holmes and we love giving you updates! Here’s a blog from Mr. Clemons on what success means to him and how he can help his students prepare for success. Just another example of the ways Classroom Champions gives teachers the tools to be better educators. Stacking the Deck was written by a member of Classroom Champion’s Board of Directors and given to participating teachers. Here’s what Mr. Clemons had to say:
“There are moments that an educator must realize that being a teacher requires being a constant listener, life-long learner, and leader.”
David Pottruck’s Stacking the Deck helped me realize that I must take advantage of the opportunities to help students stack the deck! Realizing that there is potential in every student to become a leader, I first begin with what Pottruck describes as the personal perspective. “Your perspective comes from how you view the world combined with who you are as a person.” (pg. 183) I always love to share stories with my students so they know my perspective. Sharing stories is one of my favorite ways to connect with students and help them realize that I was once in their shoes. Not only is it important to share stories, but it is also important to listen to your students own personal perspective. Being a good listener is critical to being a great leader. Everyone has their own authentic failures and successes. Leaders must develop a keen ear!
As the times change learning new things can be challenging for teachers and students. Pottruck really helps the reader connect to the acceptance of a challenge. Great leaders and teachers must challenge their students to break the bonds of complacency. I want to move my students to a better future! ,I know in order for them to be successful. I must push them to accept the challenges of life with grit and mettle. I always like to reread a particular quote from Step Eight Assessing, Recruiting, and Empowering the Broader Team -“Leadership requires challenging your people, because challenge is the antithesis of complacency and is its antidote. Challenge can shake people out of complacency and move them toward a better future.” I love to think of myself in the classroom as a tool that ignites a flame and challenges it to stay ablaze!
Finally, as a leader/teacher I must constantly adjust to the needs of my students. I love this quote from Pottruck, “New challenges demand constant adjustment to make sure that everyone is contributing their best to the team as a whole.” I think of my classroom and students as a team. I constantly must be open to adjustment for individual students in order for the whole team to be successful. Stacking the Deck has help me realize in order to be a great teacher/leader we all must teach students how to be great listeners, learners, and leaders!
Jerome Clemons is a teacher at Imagine Hope Community Charter School and his classroom participates in the Classroom Champion program.