Every one of us has dealt with the effects of abuse. We may have grown up with it, or seen it in the family of a friend. We see it in some of our students and we see it played over and over again on the nightly news. Abuse is insidious and can hide behind the face of charm and innocence. We all carry the scars and those scars don’t totally heal. Why do some people grow up to perpetuate abuse and others become paragons of love?
Jacob Chastain, the author of Teach Me, Teacher, shares his experiences growing up in an abusive home. He overcame the horror and “saw the light.” Why? What did he do and can we do that for ourselves and our students? Jacob Chastain celebrates good decision making (his father did not have this ability), passion for teaching and being positive. He says he can’t imagine not loving what he does!
“It’s the children the world almost breaks who grow up to save it.” -Frank Warren
Beyond the Grade Book is a 3 credit hour Iowa license renewal course that uses Chastain’s story to remind educators that we do much more than teach. Great teachers are about more than curriculum and assignments. Great teachers listen, understand, support and believe in their students. They provide hope and can be a lifeline. They foster seeds of potential and better tomorrows. For some students, a teacher may be the only constant, dependable adult presence in their lives. For some students, their classrooms are safe spaces they desperately need. This course brings to light the prevalence of students in our schools and classrooms struggling with often dark and painful challenges and how educators can be a source of light and hope.
Chastain’s life story is interwoven in his love for teaching and his understanding that the beginning of a teaching career does not necessary define us as teachers. We evolve as we come to see our students and ourselves from different perspectives. He jokes that the people who live with us (non-teachers) deserve a medal for that first year. Chastain has a profound sense of right, wrong and justice that he translates well into this book. How do we become “good” teachers, how do we reach the kid who has, thus far, been unreachable and how do we make this world a better place because we care about and support kids? Chastain’s book is a powerful reminder of how important parents and teachers are in this world and how vital it is that each child have a champion. Chastain translates his life for us and gives us a clear and sure direction.
This course is presented in a modified, self-paced format. Participants are expected to access the course and post regularly (at least once a week) and make reasonable progress, but there are no due dates attached to individual assignments. Instead there are 2 absolute due dates (mid-term and the last day of class) to provide flexibility and to better accommodate participants’ busy schedules.
Teach Me, Teacher: Life Lessons That Taught Me to Be a Better Teacher (2019)
Author: Jacob Chastain
Publisher: Dave Burgess Consulting, Incorporated
It can be purchased at local bookstores or ordered online. Due to page and publication differences between the hard and electronic copies, the Kindle edition is NOT recommended.
This class is available for License Renewal, Paraeducator or Audit credit.