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James Bean

Jim Bean
James Bean

Name: James Bean
School: Botts Elementary School, Menifee County School District
City: Denniston
State: Kentucky
Grade(s): HeadStart, Kindergarten, 1st and 3rd grades
Subject(s): Special Education/Resource and Science

What quote inspires you?
“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”. – Albert Einstein

“A true man of honor feels humbled himself when he cannot help humbling others.” – General Robert E. Lee

“Great things happen to those that work hard.”- Dave Buquo

What is your favorite color and why?
Kelly Green—for my favorite college team, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish

What is your favorite piece of furniture in your classroom?
The blue round student desk…this is where my students learn the basics that are needed for success in the world.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I have a blend of “old school” combined with new, innovative ways to reach kids. Several years ago, I read “Teach Like a Pirate” and it totally changed the way I taught in my classrooms. I try to be able to make a personal connection with my students, regardless of what I am teaching.

When did you know you wanted to become a teacher?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher from an early age. I had great teachers in K-12, but then going back into a classroom and observing, while I was in college, really gave me that desire to become a teacher.

What is your favorite lesson/unit to teach?
I love to teach weather and parts of earth science (earthquakes, volcanoes, etc.), as part of science units. This is a subject that kids can directly relate to, and has instant relevance.

What is your greatest challenge in teaching?
The school I teach at is in one of the most impoverished counties in Kentucky. What I am seeing, for the largest part, is the lack of parental support, or for that matter, actual parents in the homes. For various reasons, our students are raised mainly by grandparents/other family members, “babysitters” or in foster care. Because of these atypical family arrangements, one of the primary focuses of our school is to provide each student a warm, safe and nurturing environment. One of the core beliefs of my school states: “We believe a safe and supportive environment is essential to garnering self-worth in EVERY student.”

As the teachers and staff in the building are well aware of the above-mentioned issues, and the need that the students have emotionally…that connection with a positive adult, is one of the greatest challenges I have in teaching right now. We, as a building, have to meet these emotional needs before we tackle content. For most, the meals and snacks we serve may be the only food the kids get. The Family Resource Center may be the only resource for food, clothes and school supplies that most of our kids have. We have to fulfil the basic human needs of the children first, before we can teach our lessons and content to our students. That is the greatest challenge in teaching for me at this time.

If you could have a career other than a teacher, what would it be?
A professional singer

What’s something your students probably don’t know about you?
That I grew up in Cincinnati, not eastern Kentucky. That I lived in the same socio-economic, and family situation, as most of my students now live in. That I was raised without a father, but have been successful.

If a student were to remember something about your class 50 years from now, what do you hope it would be?
That I was caring first…that I cared about their needs and ideas. Second, I hope that they knew that I was honest with them—if we had a boring part of content we had to cover, I was up front with my classes, and we endured as a class. Lastly, I hope that I had their best interests at heart, and my ultimate goal was to help prepare them for their lives in society…if I was hard on them for a test, then I was preparing them for when they have to endure something hard in life.

What are your three favorite books?
1. The Frontiersmen by Allan Eckert
2. The Civil War Series by Shelby Foote
3. Anything written by P.T. Deutermann

Which do you prefer:

pen or pencil

coffee or tea

morning or afternoon

hot lunch or packed lunch

dentist or faculty meeting * Is there a third option?

If you would like to be considered for a future Educator Spotlight, send this completed questionnaire and a picture to kellie.noszka@schoolsin.com.

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