Poteau School District & Upper Elementary
TEACHER OF THE YEAR
Erich Sweet is in his fourth year at Poteau Upper Elementary. Before coming to Poteau, he taught at Union Christian Academy, in Fort Smith, for two years. He currently teaches fifth grade Science and ELA. He is also the National Elementary Honor Society Adviser and the Gifted and Talented Adviser/Instructor for third through fifth grade.
During Erich's educational career, he has taught fourth grade, Math Intervention, and fifth Grade. Additionally, Mr. Sweet has also served as a NEHS adviser for 5 years and an adviser for the Gifted and Talented Program for 4 years.
Philosophy of Teaching
I believe in order for students to learn, you must first create an environment in which they feel safe and supported. I believe that building a relationship with each student becomes the foundation in creating a caring community of learners within the classroom. When students feel loved and supported, they begin to gain confidence in their ability to succeed academically.
I feel that students must be allowed to explore in order to recognize and develop their individual learning styles. This encourages them to take ownership of their own learning, and provides them with opportunities that would not otherwise be available. Children need positive role models in today’s society, and I feel that it is necessary as teachers to model the skills needed to become life-long learners, successful adults, and productive members of society.
Ultimately my goal is to encourage my students be individuals who are not afraid to try, to become problem solvers, to think outside of the box, and to realize it is okay to make mistakes as long as we learn from them. Most importantly, I hope that each student that walks through my door will feel loved, and will know that I believe in them.
Personal Teaching Style:
As a teacher, I understand the importance of individual learning styles. This is why within my classroom, I provide my students with a variety of learning experiences. I believe that each student has the ability to learn, but does so differently. Using different instructional methods appeals to the different learning styles, and ensures that each student has the opportunity to succeed. I believe that classrooms need to have rules, procedures and consequences, but I also know that students are naturally curious and this curiosity allows them to discover their own learning potential. Some students do well while sitting, while others need to stand. Some students do better while listening, while others do better with hands-on activities. This is why it is important to know your students, and provide a variety of instructional strategies that will meet the need of each student that enters your classroom.
My colleagues at Poteau Upper Elementary have always been very supportive. I feel fortunate that I work with such a great group of ladies and gentlemen. I feel that through collaboration and common planning, we are able to learn from each other and contribute ideas, and gain ideas that assist each one of us to become the best teachers for our students. This collaboration and willingness to help, contributes to building successful communities of learning within each classroom.