Mrs. Bryant, formerly Ms. Howard, is a math teacher at Leesville. She graduated from Meredith University in 2012. Her teaching style involves treating students as though they are adults, placing the burden of paying attention solely on them. The Mycenaean sat down for an interview with her.
Tell me how you view your classroom experience.
“I just want to have a fun time in class while learning, so I kind of open it up to the kids and what they want to do and see what they’re good at already, and then take on that and teach them more about what they already know.”
Why do you treat your students as adults?
“They’re going to go and be adults in the real world, so if you treat them as adults now they’ll understand how to act that way later in life.”
What do you do differently to treat them as adults?
“I make everything their responsibility. It’s their responsibility if they don’t do their homework or not. It’s their responsibility to come in and make up their quiz if they’re absent. Everything is on them versus on me telling them what they should and shouldn’t do. I show them why they should and shouldn’t do it, and then I let them make that choice.”
What makes your teaching style different from others?
“I try to be respectful of everyone’s individual learning style, so I try to incorporate all the different types of learning, and then I try to mix it up–change the seating, change how the class works, incorporate fun games, because I get bored too when I teach the same way all the time.”
What is your position on failure? Do you think it helps [students] grow?
“I think [failure helps people grow]. I think a lot of kids fail classes when they’re younger at first, because they don’t care, or they’ve failed in middle school multiple times but got pushed on. When they get to high school, they think they’re gonna be pushed on. But, they’re not, so they keep failing, multiple times. I think that it helps them realize that you’re gonna fail in life, and it’s okay, you just gotta pick back up, and try to figure it out.”
What gave you the idea to teach this way?
“In college, that’s how my professors treated me, so that’s how I wanted to treat my students.”
Do you believe that your teaching format could be applied to other subjects?
“Oh yeah. I think every subject could teach this way.”
Why do you make your classroom homework intensive?
“Because in a job you’re going to have outside activities that you need to do besides going to meetings and stuff, so if you learn to do your homework, especially in college, they grade homework, so if you learn to do that now, your future’s going to be a lot easier.”
How do you respond to claims that kids these days have just too much homework?
“If any kid tells me they’ve got too much homework, I tell them ‘Well, get over it,’ because that’s life; you’ll have a lot of things to do in life, so move on.”
If you could change something about education, what would it be?
“It would be to not have state testing, so we can teach what students need to know later on in life and could have more fun with it [rather] than basically pushing all these standards and mak[ing] sure they know the test, the test, the test.”
What would you change about the average classroom?
“More group work, less lecturing. More project-based learning. [in] Life, when you go into jobs, a lot of [parts of jobs] you weren’t trained in college to do… With project-based learning, you’re kind of given a task to kind of learn for yourself what to do, which is how they teach you on the job; you’re on-the-job training. Project-based learning would definitely work better to prepare us for the future. I try to do group work a lot. I try as much as I can in ways they’ve already learned things before, but in math it’s really hard to not do lectures. You gotta teach them what the math is and then let them work with what they’ve learned.”
Kimi Prescott, a sophomore at Leesville, had this to say about Mrs. Bryant:
“I think Mrs. Bryant likes working with people independently, contributes to everybody’s learning style, and she has different ways of teaching so that everyone understands in their own way. She encourages people to come to SMART lunch and use that time to bring their grade up. I think she just has a positive effect on everybody and how they learn.”