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Teacher Spotlight: Growing Student Learning at Lee A. Tolbert Academy

Teacher Spotlight / September 10, 2018
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Teacher: Brandon Parker, The Educator Academy Cohort Two

School: Lee A. Tolbert Academy

Grade level: 4th

Years teaching: less than one year

Hometown: Kansas City, KS

Degrees: Associate of Science, Kansas City Kansas Community College; Bachelor’s of Business Administration, University of Kansas; Master’s of Urban Education, Park University (Spring 2019)

How is your first year of teaching going so far? It’s going great. I have relationships built with all of my students and that helps so much because if they don’t like you then they aren’t going to do what you want them to do. All of them basically like me.

Why did you want to become a teacher? Before teaching I owned my own commercial cleaning business, but I always wanted to be a teacher since high school. Out of high school I went to college and it wasn’t working out. Then, I joined the air force for six years, and that changed my mind frame. I wanted to be my own boss, do something fulfilling, and still wanted to serve.

How has your Residency Year prepared you for your first year of teaching? Seeing a Mentor Teacher teaching helped me to know what to expect coming in as a first year teacher.

Your The Educator Academy Coach Erin Kautz shared that you taught a math standard on place value using base ten. You used a student exit ticket to address student misconceptions and then you designed a reteach. After the reteach, students showed 40% growth, going from 34% to 74% on their exit ticket. Tell us a little bit about that experience. I have an exit ticket everyday. I try to grade them. We start the next day’s lesson about the exit ticket misconceptions. When I looked at the tickets, I understood why they had those misconceptions. I could have taught it better. I saw what I didn’t do all the way right and I addressed it. The next day, [after the reteach], they just caught on when I realized what I wasn’t giving them, not just what they weren’t giving me.

What advice would you give a Resident who is just now beginning their journey towards becoming a teacher? Remember, they are just kids. They are emotional. Don’t meet them at the same level as their emotions. Build those relationships. Have high expectations for students, because I know they can do it. Hold them accountable.