James Comer said it best: “No significant learning occurs without a significant relationship.” I found this quote to be true for me when I was a student and hope to implement this core principle into my own relationships with my students. Early on, I struggled academically, but it was through meaningful relationships with my teachers and other caring adults who made me want to return to school each day.
One of my students is brilliant, but struggles with the traditional teaching style found in a ‘traditional’ education. I told him that I was once in the same boat and that by seeking help in areas that were challenging to me, I was able to further my education. This allowed me to go to college and prepared me for leadership roles where I can pass on the positive seeds that were once planted in my mind. I have seen the positive impact many of the Beyond the Bell Team Leaders have on our students as well. One of our students eagerly expressed to me that one day he wants to be in a leadership role. He doesn’t want to be a leader; he wants to be THE leader, like the Beyond the Bell Director Mr. Holsinger.
Through the many Beyond the Bell programs, students are learning that education can be found beyond the classroom. Some of our enrichment classes, such as aviation, cooking, drumming, science and yoga, give students opportunities that they may not otherwise have. I’ve heard many of our students express an interest in trying recipes they learn in the cooking class at home with their family. These hands-on learning experiences help students to master the lifelong skill of eating healthy by making their own meal rather than depending on microwaveable food or fast food. It’s exciting to see students’ perspectives on meals change as they learn the process of going from a recipe to a meal that they created and are able to enjoy.
Through my position at Beyond the Bell, I have learned to find positive ways to shape students’ thinking patterns and to help them understand the consequences of their actions.
Basil is on-track to graduate with his Master's degree in Education in the spring of 2014 and is exploring possible career pathways in the field of education. He has been with Beyond the Bell since November 2012.