My Classroom

Some of the best experiences I’ve ever had have taken place inside a classroom. Some of the not so great experiences I’ve had also took place in school. 

All these experiences, the good and the bad, inspired me to become a teacher and they influence what my room looks like and how it is structured. 

For me it begins and ends with compassion and safety. I believe that if I create that foundation then my students will be more likely to ask questions, share their opinions, and take academic risks because they know there will be no judgements, no bullying, no laughing. 

In my classroom we take care of one another. 

When I think of the great experiences I had in school I remember teachers that created spaces like that. We were encouraged to stretch our thinking, look at things from multiple perspectives, and make that brave decision to share our own ideas and experiences. 

When I think of the negative experiences I’ve had I think about all the times I was afraid to ask questions, where the teacher didn’t seem to know I existed, or if they did they didn’t particularly care. 

In my class we stress expectations and rights. My students have a right to an education. They have a right to a teacher that is invested in their wellness and success. My students have a right to be heard, to be safe, to be encouraged, and supported as they navigate their way through what I hope will be a lifetime of learning. 

There are also expectations. My students are expected to do their best work. They’re expected to be prepared and respectful of one another and me. They’re expected to ask questions, to challenge me to be the best teacher I can be. They’re expected to take a very active role in their own education and development. 

In my classroom we embrace technology but not at the sacrifice of human interaction, collaboration, and creations so while we use digital solutions to make videos or create slide decks and presentations or gamification, we also write with pencils and pens, we create posters, brochures, and we collaborate in the physical in-person world. 

I don’t pretend to be the greatest teacher on my campus. I do strive to be the hardest working. I have the highest expectations of myself, and I strive every day to learn more about my craft, reflect on what works and what doesn’t work, and to then make actionable decisions based on those reflections. 

I’m fascinated with history, with government, with the blueprint our nation’s Founding Fathers laid out. I’m fascinated with the way our nation so dramatically changed in the years after World War II. The baby boom, the birth of youth culture, the development of technology in the mid-century, the counterculture, and the music. 

US history and government are a collection of incredible stories that tell us where we came from and how we got here. They give insight into why our world is the way it is. We see the influence of the very beginnings of our nation every time we turn on the TV. 

Helping my students connect the past to the present is one of the most gratifying aspects of teaching. I live for those “light bulb” moments where I see a student “get it.”

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

I’ve always loved that quote. 

Be Well and Kind…and never stop learning, 

JRBB