Bradford High School Teacher Spotlight May/June 2017

Tyloaha Parker is a high school English teacher at Bradford Academy.

What keeps your students aiming for success in the classroom?

My students keep aiming for success in the classroom because of the high expectations that are set. They are able to connect the learning concepts to real world experiences. This keeps them craving to learn, continuing to understand, and growing to be successful.

How do you remind your students of the expectations you have?

I remind my students of the expectations I have for them on a daily basis through repetition. I constantly communicate with them verbally and non-verbally. My students understand the expectations of my classroom reflect those of the society that we live in.

Your students seem to take an active part in the classroom. In what ways are they active in their learning?

My students are active in their learning because I assure that we have constant communication, dialogue, and interaction regarding the concepts and topics that we discuss in class. I allow my students to ask questions and challenge them to go beyond the text, lecture, and supplemental material that is shared.

With such independent students, how do you incorporate teamwork into your classroom?

In my class I try to incorporate opportunities for students to facilitate and lead the learning experience. Most often, I utilize the Socratic Seminar strategy in my classroom. Also, I facilitate learning such that students learn from one another, by challenging them to go beyond their comfort levels. Lastly, I group students that have different perspectives while still being able to maintain a mutual respect for those in the group.

In what ways do you build a family-like atmosphere in your classroom?

I create a family-like atmosphere in my classroom that emulates an environment that reflects my home. I have pictures of my family, keep a clean atmosphere, and create a hospitable space. I treat students, staff, and others as guests in my home and expect the same in return.  

What’s the ‘secret ingredient’?

I believe that there are four ingredients to the secret recipe that are needed in all classrooms for it to be successful. These ingredients are: consistency, accountability, respect, and high expectations. I expect for my students to hold me to the same standards and ‘ingredients’ as I do for them. My secret ingredient to my recipe is love. Everything that I set out to do with and for my students is done with care, devotion, and love for their lives and success.  

How do you keep your students interested in learning?

I keep the students interested in learning by making it relevant. Students always want to know how does a concept apply to them and when or how they will use it now and in the future.

How are creativity and innovative thinking used on a daily basis in your classroom?

Creativity and innovative thinking are used on a daily basis in my classroom by allowing the students to help guide the learning process. Students often times bring ideas and thoughts which provide additional perspectives and insight. Too often we don’t allow students to use their imagination at the secondary level. Additionally, I try to create assignments that are different from what they may typically receive in other classes.