“School year 2017-2018
Mr. Jolley changed a rowdy class of diverse 6th graders into “Learning Team.” My daughter Tova, came home from the first day of 6th grade. She was anxious; I was anxious about her teacher. Tova said, “He says as of today, we are all employee’s and we are going to work together to learn, to play, and to succeed!” I replied, “Wow, that’s an exciting challenge.” Though I didn’t say it, I thought to myself, “Right, just wait until everyone discovers he can’t ‘fire’ any of his team.”
By the end of the school year, Mr. Jolley had transformed this class. He taught much more than sixth grade curriculum. He became a coach. The students helped each other. They learned, because they wanted to learn. Equally, or more importantly, he taught life-value principles that changed my daughter and changed me.
Mr. Jolley constantly reinforced that EVERY voice was important, every student mattered, every answer was treated with respect; a wrong answer is the path to learning, and “everyone will have the opportunity to stand and present their view many times throughout the year.” He taught that life is a giant classroom, where we are always learning.
The thought terrified my daughter. However, Mr. Jolley instilled into his “employee class” that they were all in this together and every students style and input will be valued. Several times during the year, each class member stood in front of class and presented, shared their view, and learned about facing fears. From my view, the class really did become a team. They were loyal to each other. A few times throughout the year, the entire class was invited to various birthday parties and the class was invited to gather for an end-of-year activity.
My daughter is a sensitive person; a little anxious about herself, others, the lights, the room, the color of her pencil, and many other things. She learned not worry to about whether she was right or wrong, but to respond in class. Mr. Jolley treated each student as an important learner, whose voice matters. Speaking in front of peers is never easy, but they did it. And when I attended various school assembly’s and activities, I observed a unique and special trust between this “coach” and his “team.”