Mr. Robert Culp

Mr. Robert CulpDirksen Junior High

Joliet, Illinois

Teaching Motto: If it's easy, it's not worth doing. We grow from being challenged and pushed to reach our potential. It is also important to know each of your students and not overwhelm them. It's about finding a balance.

Who was your favorite teacher? Why?

Ms. Metrick, my junior high language arts teacher. She was able to make connections with her students and treat them like individuals, not just a kid. She pushed students to reach their full potential and accepted nothing less.

What are three things every teacher should own?

A shirt, pants, and shoes. If they didn't own these things, they really should not be in front of students.

If you could have any person (living, dead or fictional) as a principal, who would it be?

That's tough. It would have to be someone that fully understood that they need to be supportive of their teachers, make sure that the school is student centered, and listened to research about education (such as gum chewing can be good for students, a later start for students is beneficial, etc.). I'm sure there are people out there like that that I could list, but I am drawing a blank.

What profession other than your own would you most like to attempt?

Acting. I love the fine arts and occasionally do some community theatre, but I always wished I could take some time and try to audition in downtown Chicago

Describe your all-time favorite lesson/unit activity

I taught The Giver and had students collect memories from different family members and friends throughout the book. Students had to summarize the memories in a paragraph. In the end, I had them choose a few and put them all together in a presentation. We talked about the importance of memories and why both good and bad memories are important to our lives. This, of course, tied into the themes within The Giver. I had a few students who took all of their family's memories and made a beautiful scrapbook that they then gave to a family member as a gift.

What is the greatest misconception about teachers?

That we only work 9 months out of the year. Doesn't everyone write this?

What stereotype about teachers is true?

Probably that we like to talk and be in control. I don't consider myself a control freak, but I notice when I am out in a large group of people, I need to know what is going on. I don't have to be the leader, but I need to know what the overall plan is.

How did you know you wanted to be a teacher?

I've always enjoyed working with kids. I was a camp counselor for years before I finally pursued my degree. I love being a positive influence in kids lives and pushing them to continually challenge themselves.

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