John S. Thomas

First & Second Grade Teacher/Adjunct Faculty Antioch University New England, former Elementary Principal

As an educator, I believe that the cornerstone of successful teaching is relationships. I do my best to build positive, supportive relationships with my students, their families, and my colleagues. Students should be challenged and engaged to find their best selves-but should always do so in a safe learning environment. I believe strongly that students learn best when they are safe emotionally as well as physically. I do this by creating a shared understanding of expectations with my students. I believe learning is best accomplished by doing. Students in my class will be actively involved in the learning process so they not only learn the curriculum, but also understand how they learn best. A major part of my classroom experience involves goal setting and reflection. My students and I often collaboratively reflect on an 1 to 1 and a whole class level to determine if we are making choices that lead us in the direction we would like to travel. I often say to my students "I don't mind if you make a mistake, as long as we learn from them." As a class, we try to live by the mantra "What if everyone did it?" to assess the impact of our actions. It can be applied to the high effort behaviors we strive for in the classroom, as well as the habits we want to see change.

I enjoy hiking, camping, kayaking and watching sports with my family. When time allows I enjoy rock climbing, fly fishing, and playing basketball. I am also an avid Kansas City Chiefs and Missouri football and basketball fan. I have been a school principal, a stay-at-home dad for six years, and a classroom teacher in grades 1-3 for more than 10 years. I have worked in public and private schools ranging from 50 to 350 students in rural and suburban locations. Before I got involved in education, I spent more than 10 years working in marketing and management in the shoe industry.

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