Kathryn DeAtley (Kindergarten): Ron Clark Academy Experience

Kathryn DeAtley attended the Ron Clark Academy Experience on Nov. 6, 2015:

Amazing, inspiring, engaging, eye opening, motivating, life changing and energizing are just a few of the words that can be used to describe the experience I had at the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta, GA. I have been a fan of Ron Clark’S since I first heard about him from a movie on tv and always dreamed of having the opportunity to actually go to the school he opened with Kim Bearden. Even though the school is 5-8th, I was able to walk away with a great deal of new ideas and motivation that I then brought into my classroom.

Although I have always been passionate about teaching, I feel as though my passion for teaching and learning was heightened after my visit to RCA. Every classroom I entered was exciting and engaging. I wrote down page after page of new and different ideas for lesson and activities, vocabulary to use with my students, ways to really engage my students in school and the whole learning process. I have also changed how I present the information I teach based on what I observed in the different classrooms. I make sure my toes are always facing the students, even when working on the Smartboard. I break out into song all the time. I have students come up to lead a lesson and really encourage my students to show support for each other through compliments and cheering. I tried the whole jumping on tables while teaching, but have since stopped doing that after falling off a table while getting down. I was ok and my students learned a very important lesson as to why we don’t stand on tables.

Another important thing I walked away from RCA with was how respectful the students were towards their teachers and peers. This is partly due to the Essential 55 that are used as rules for both in school and in life. I want my students (a.k.a. the Ducklings) to be respectful human beings, so I have started to do my own version of these essential rules based on the needs of my students. So far we have done:
1. If someone is in your way or you bump into someone, always say “Excuse me. After you.”
2. Don’t take things that are not yours. Always ask.
3. No matter how hard a task, never give up. Practice makes progress.
4. When given something, always say, “Thank you.” If you do not want it, say, “No, thank you.”

Since starting to use these essentials, I have really seen a difference in my student’s behavior and attitude towards myself and each other.

I have been wanting to go to RCA for many years now, but was never able to due to funding. Thank you PTO for making this trip possible.
— Kathryn DeAtley