Shane Tucker Is Named Teacher Of The Year PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 10 January 2018 18:38

Veteran Language Arts teacher at Chattooga High School Shane Tucker was named the Chattooga County School System Teacher of the Year for 2018 at the board’s meeting last month.

Tucker has taught at CHS for 23 years. He has taught every class and is currently working with 12th graders.
He is a former coach with 15 years of experience in baseball, basketball, football and cross country. His teams have won more than 250 games across all sports. He retired from coaching eight years ago in order to focus on his classroom teaching.
Tucker is a former CHS Teacher of the Year and STAR Teacher.
He is an alumnus of CHS graduating in 1990. He finished his undergraduate degree at Berry College in 1994. He completed his Masters Degree at Jacksonville State University in 1999 and his Education Specialist Degree in 2002.
Tucker is highly active in data gathering and analysis. He has been working with Lexile levels through both the Red 180 program and he STAR Lexile program at the high school level.
“I firmly believe that improving a student’s ability to read will improve their entire educational experience across all areas of curriculum,” Tucker said.
He is the first person in the building each day opening the doors of the school between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. and volunteering to monitor the students who arrive before the buses.
“I consider Chattooga High School “my school” and plan on staying there until my retirement,” Tucker added.
 
PUBLIC EDUCATION
ISSUE
Asked what he considered to be a major public education issue today and why it was important to him and his classroom, Tucker said:
“It is a well-known fact that schools are facing many issues when it comes to succeeding in the education of their students. Some issues are caused by various factors at both the local and state levels. There are even national issues that need to be resolved in order to make education more feasible for our students. However, one issue (particularly here in Chattooga County) needs to be confronted in order for education to be successful. We need our parents involved in the education of our students.
As educators, we like to have meetings. We have faculty meetings, department meetings, county-wide meetings, administrative meetings, safety meetings, and even student meetings. Some schools even have required meetings with parents or guardians of students. All of these meetings (well maybe not all but at least most of them) deal with how we can solve problems our students face in order for them to learn. There are times however when we unfortunately begin playing what I call the “Blame Game”. High school teachers blame middle school teachers for their students being behind. The middle school teachers then blame the elementary teachers. The elementary teachers blame the kindergarten or pre-K teachers. The kindergarten and pre-K teachers blame the parents. The parents then blame the school system for not educating their child. This makes a nice flow chart if I had room to put it in. As you can imagine, it is simply a giant circle in which no one accepts the blame or responsibility. 
Unfortunately, the only people being hurt by all of this are the students themselves. As an educator, I refuse to place the blame on the parents, particularly for the education of an 18-year-old senior in my classroom. However, I need the involvement of that parent in the education of their child. In all honesty, I rarely get it. A large majority of the teachers I talk to are facing this same problem. Most elementary teachers have more parental involvement that we do at the secondary level. However, most of them agree that there could always be more. Therefore the answer is simple. As an educator, I have an easy source to place the blame on for the way that certain student behaves in my class. I have someone to blame when these parents refuse to return my calls or give me disconnected phone numbers or refuse to return emails. I can blame someone when a student does not perform in my class. Who can I blame? Well, I choose to blame…myself. The simple fact of the matter is this. As educators, we have to be the ones to figure out the answer. We have to compel students, parents and educators to work together in the education of each and every student. It would be nice to simply make a list of things that we can do in order for this to occur. I like lists. They are nicely organized bits of information that usually have all the answers. That is until you begin dealing with people on an INDIVIDUAL basis. Therein, I strongly believe, is where the answer is located.
“We can continue to have our monthly PTA meetings in which the same parents attend every time and hear about how well their children are doing. We can continue to attempt to contact the parents of our difficult students knowing that their behavior is not going to change even if by some miracle we do reach someone at the number we have on file. We can continue to try to follow guidelines sent to us by the state in relation to parent contacts so many times per year. We can continue to do all of these things that have not worked in the past or we can try something else. We can try to solve the problem. And we can start now. How do we do this? Simply by realizing that each and every student we have is an individual with their own lives. What works for one student/parent combination may not work for another. We need to take the individualized instruction we offer to each student in our classroom and relate it to their parental situation as well. This will work for absolutely 100 percent of our students, right? Of course not! 
This issue (lack of parental involvement) is much too large for us to believe that we can solve it overnight or through state legislation. There is no quick fix that will automatically get parents more involved in the education of their children. We have to look at the issue one student at a time and solve the issue for that specific student. The responsibility falls directly on the person who is most qualified to solve the problem: the teacher. It is my duty to find a way to meet with the parents of that student who has been in trouble and find something positive to say. It is also my duty to contact that active parent that is used to being told wonderful things about their child and to make some suggestions on possible weaknesses or areas their child can show improvement in. All parents need to be aware that there is SOMETHING that they can do in order to help their child’s education.
Simply put, I refuse to play the blame game anymore. If a student comes into my classroom unprepared and six grades below level in reading then maybe I can move them up to where they are only four grades below level. As a teacher, I have to do the best I can in whatever situation I am placed in. And if I can gain the support of the parents of the students I teach, I will begin making a difference in the educational process for my students. Or maybe I can at least help one student. That would make it worth the effort.”
 
EDUCATIONAL
MESSAGE
As the 2018-19 Georgia Teacher of the Year, Tucker was asked as a spokesperson and representative for teachers and students. What is your message? What will you communicate to your profession and to the general public? 
“It is vital that we begin looking at education on a student-by-student basis. This is not to say that we need to fill out pages and pages of paperwork documenting how each student is different and deserves their own individualized program monitored by a dozen different people located in different buildings across the system. Wasting valuable time does not help anyone involved, particularly the student,” he said.
He continued, “The answer is located within each individual classroom in the state. Each teacher needs to use the knowledge they have in order to educate their students in the best means possible. We currently have more data on our students than ever before. There are educational resources available to us that can be invaluable in our classroom. We need to educate ourselves in order to be successful.
Regardless of popular opinion, our current educational system is not in a downward spiral. There are things that we waste time on in regards to testing (or maybe over-testing) but there are still so many outstanding things that are happening inside classrooms. Teachers are working harder than ever and must continue to do so in order to prepare our students for success in the modern world we live in. We teachers have to know our students. We have to be aware of their strengths and weaknesses. We need to know their situation at home. We need to know their parents and other members of their families. And we need to take this wealth of knowledge and use it to design a program for that student in order to make them successful. We are constantly telling our students that “Knowledge is Power.” Well, it is time for us to put that practice into use for the benefit of our students instead of using it as a cliché over and over.
Let’s rid ourselves of time-wasting activities, empower our teachers, and educated our young people. We owe it to each of them.”
 


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