A teacher plays a very important role in a child’s life. They spend countless hours trying to come up with ways to help students learn. It takes a very special person to take on that role. But it is not always easy. Teachers burn out very quickly before the week even ends. That is why Dr. Richard Overfelt came up with a great way to keep teachers motivated.
Dr. Overfelt is an 88-year-old former principal who now teaches a graduate course on how to help teachers be more engaging, energized and fun. He began teaching in the 1950’s and earned his master’s degree in 1962. He is certainly good at what he does and his student loved him. Because of his experience, he understands that teaching comes with high demands. Even though teachers may love it, grading assignments and completing lesson plans in a timely manner can be so overwhelming.
“If teachers are uptight, then that is going to carry over to their kids”, Dr. Overfelt said to NBC.
The main objective of his course is to keep the joy in teaching. His goal is to help teachers relax and get back to the basics of teaching. Dr. Richard leads by example because he makes his classroom a place where teachers can let their hair down and enjoy learning. His students know that they are in for a good semester when he arrives at the first day of class in a clown costume.
“I want to keep the little kid in them alive and move them out of their comfort zone to do activities they can then do with their kids”, he said to St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Dr. Richard incorporates singing, dancing, and interactive activities into his lessons. He makes learning fun and encourages his students to do the same when they are teaching. He is certain that teachers are more effective in the classroom when their focus is not only on the curriculum but also on building relationships with their students.
“I teach that if the heart is empty, it doesn’t make any difference how full the head,” Dr. Richard said.
He found that his methods were effective because after taking his course, teachers fell in love with their careers all over again. One of his students said the Dr. Richard inspired her to do little things like writing happy notes to her students. Another student said that he was going to quit teaching, but was so encouraged by Dr. Richard, that he wanted to continue.
“He kept me in the profession when I was ready to get out,” said Ken Wolfe, a middle school and high school English Language Arts teacher
Watch: This 88-Year-Old Teacher Brings Joy To The Classroom
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