Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader: Meeting Students Where They Are

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Emerging Leader: Meeting Students Where They Are

Article excerpt

Crystal M. Timmons is a clinical assistant professor in the Lastinger Center for Learning, University of Florida, Jacksonville, where she teaches five graduate-level core courses, including differentiated instruction, culturally responsive classroom management, and meeting the needs of children in poverty.

You focus on preparing preservice teachers for learning environments in urban schools. What are the two or three important lessons you impart to your students along these lines?

I learned early that most of my students were in their late teens and early 20s and connected better with "Words of Wisdom" that were embedded in Top 40 songs. So, since I aim to meet the needs of the learner ...

Lesson #1: Expect challenges, but know that you have been prepared to handle any and all obstacles.

But just because it burns/Doesn't mean you're gonna die/You've gotta get up and try try try

"Try," by Pink

Lesson #2: Choose positive mentors that cultivate your strengths and promote a culture of collaboration.

If you get lost, you can always be found/Just know you're not alone/Cause I'm gonna make this place your home

"Home," by Phillip Phillips

Lesson #3: Have high expectations for all students ... and yourself.

When you believe somehow you will/You will when you believe "When You Believe," by Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey

You do a lot more than teach by engaging yourself in academic, student, and community life. Why is this important to you--what do you learn from it and what do you aim to accomplish by doing it?

When I was 16, I started volunteering at a local hospital as a candy striper. …

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