Louisville Magazine

DEC 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 12.18 45 Having more choices in the classroom. Last year, I went to the principal and was like, 'I really need Chromebooks. We need more technology in the classroom, so that students can develop these projects to prepare them for the future.' Just to give them that knowledge and experience. Now we have a class set of Chromebooks. •ey're working on projects with a lot of choice and individual decisions about how they'll learn the material they're learning. •at's been amazing, because last year, some students were really turned o-; I was really ‚ghting to get them engaged. •ey're excited now. It was neat to see how meeting the interest of that child changes them completely. "•e other thing we always work on here is developing relationships with our students. •e biggest thing is letting them know I care about them and want to get to know them. You can't ask someone to do something if they don't have that con‚dence and trust in you. •at was a transition in my career to be able to say, 'OK, this is classroom management — to create these relationships with my students.'" What's a project you're currently working on? "We are writing a story. We found this really cool story about this little girl who opens the door into her imagina- tion. We're using that for inspiration during our Spanish literacy — they're writing a story about what it's like to go into their imaginations, and if they were to let somebody into their imaginations, what would that person see? One of my students is using a spiral staircase to lead to her imagi- nation. I've honestly had to tell them, 'OK, please put this away. We've got to work on something else now.'" What are you teaching? "I teach reading to 10th grade. Math. Social studies — that's probably my strongest subject. I teach world history, a cultures class. But I do a lot of job training with the students as well. We take our students out in the community and train them on doing jobs. How to be socially appropriate in public. How to actually do the jobs. We have students who work at the zoo or UPS. Where some of our students may have met their academic potential, we train them for life after Binet. We have a jobs program that's part of our focus. We go out three days a week in the community working with their skill set. •is week we'll go to the C.B. Young and Dawson (school-services centers). We're responsible to ‚ll the Coke machines there. •e students will take inventory of the product there. •ey'll collect the money out of the machines, count it, turn it in to our bookkeeper. •ey ‚ll the vending machines. •ey'll transfer inventory from one location to the other. I have two students on Monday and •ursday who are in that training program. We also have students on Wednesday that go to Dare to Care and put together food packages for disaster relief or to feed locals. •at's teaching them how to be a productive citizen. How to have an independent job. "When I was hired, I was assigned a very di˜cult student. When I ‚rst started working with him, he was only able to function in the classroom environment for ‚ve minutes. I worked with this student for three years, and by the time I was done working with him, he was doing a full day of school. We went from ‚ve minutes to a full day of school. We took this student out on job sites. I shared some of these strategies that I used with him, to pass this on to other teachers to use with other trying students." What's the best way to handle dicult students? "I've had students with severe hygiene issues. •ey've been self-mutilating. Being able to deal with students that would pee on the ™oor and try to kick it on me. I was an EMT at the ‚re department, so I was used to dangerous or hazardous envi- ronments. Having a student in crisis, or seeing blood — I had over 20 years experience dealing with emergency incidents. It didn't really shake or rattle me. "When the ‚re's going through the roof, you have to be able to function. With a student in crisis, you have to be calm. •e way you handle the situation can either escalate it or calm it down. I've got to be able to take a step back, give it time, not antagonize it. I'll be the voice of calm while everything is going 100 miles per hour around me." What makes a good teacher? "I think the key to teaching — whether school or football — is genuinely caring about your kids. If your kids know you care about them, they'll run through a wall for you; they'll really try to learn the material." What do you make of so many teachers on this year's electoral ballot? "Statewide, the pensions teachers are working for, that's an incentive to teach. •at being under attack is pushing people CHARLES MUCKER SIX YEARS TEACHING BINET SCHOOL (FOR KIDS WITH A RANGE OF LEARNING DISABILITIES) Why did you become a teacher? "I'm a retiree from the Louisville Division of Fire, Louisville Metro Government. I was an assistant chief there. My mom was a retired teacher. I'd always coached football. I've always loved working with kids. I went back and got my teaching credentials at Spalding in 2013. As far as Binet, it's a special place. You have to love the kids where they are — with the gifts they have or don't have. We have about 100 students. About 80 percent are on the autism spectrum. It's kindergar- ten to 12th grade at this school. •e students age out at 21 as opposed to graduating at 18."

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