Keb has been a fairly successful student in elementary — good grades and test scores, but not always great behavior. He has taken what was offered in class, learned it, and, for the most part, applied it to new learning or situations. He hasn’t, however, always had a great work ethic or personal responsibility in that. Part of that change is maturing, part is meds, but a huge part of it is Mr. K.
Honestly, I want to take a year’s sabbatical and become Mr. K’s student teacher. Whatever he does, it’s like magic. Keb feels secure, confident, calm and capable in his hands. Mr. K has high expectations, a great grading system, and expects the students to behave and follow procedures. More amazing is that I haven’t heard of any parental push-back for any of his expectations. In fact, I think he gives the students 80 seconds to be back in class after the recess bell or they lose points. Apparently it works, but Keb’s never once complained about it.
Mr. K is fair, knows his class, and doesn’t actually plaster his walls with stuff. It’s amazing how Spartan his room can be. His only supply request was pencils. “They’re going to write. A lot.” was what we were told. Keb does write a lot, and he’s gotten better for it. In fact, whatever happens in class, Keb truly gets what’s going on, feels he can be a class leader, and feels the respect. He has risen to all expectations.
Mr. K takes points away for infractions or forgetting homework. When a student earns x points a homework pass is granted. Mr. K doesn’t make those points too easy to get. He knows that a child needs to stretch to grow. Better yet, our child has a goal and we don’t end up with more junky toys from Oriental Trading Company in our house. How genius is that?
We’ll ask, “How’s it going because Keb can be a handful.” The answer is always one of cool, calm and collected. Mr. K has control. He keeps his relationship with Keb close to him. He’s never once called home, and I don’t know if that’s because he handles everything or there’s no reason to call. Mr. K has inspired Keb to be a better person. In fact, Mr. K has spoiled all the other teachers for Keb. Keb’s certain he never had a good teacher until he had Mr. K.
Of course, this makes me want to be a Mr. K. He’s an amazing educator. Not because he’s flamboyant, fancy, or full or tricks but because he is calm, collected, curriculum-based, and steady. Rock steady. I think there’s a lot to be said for being an amazing classroom leader who doesn’t need anything more than pencils. Lots of pencils.