Ron Clark a young white, energetic, and idealistic teacher leaves his small North Carolina school to teach in a New York inner city elementary school, where he takes on the most unruly 6th grade class at Inner Harlem Elementary school. Mr. Clark believed he could turn the class around with innovative teaching techniques and a set of what he calls his “essential rules. ” Clark quickly learns that he isn’t’ going to be able to Just walk into the classroom, command attention with his smile and a set of rules; the first rule being “We are family’ when none of the students in his class look ike him, or talk like him.
In order to know how to reach them Mr. Clark must first understand his students individually and collectively. According to Covey (2003) before people feel that you understand them, they will not be open to your influence; we must walk a mile in the other person’s shoes which is exactly what Ron Clark does. The character traits exemplified by Ron Clark in The Ron Clark Story (Haines 2006) are determination, integrity, optimism, courage, trustworthiness, humility, and a sense of humor.
Ron Clark Essay Example
It was with a courageous heart and undying determination that Ron Clark was able to really understand how his students lived and felt every day. His lessons did not stop after the bell rang, in fact that was when many of the most valuable lessons began. Clark offered to make dinner for three siblings of one of his students just so that she could do her homework while her mom held down two Jobs. He ventured into dangerous neighborhoods to help another student choose to take the right path in life. In order to communicate at their level and to make learning fun
Clark created and performed a presidential rap song to help the students memorize every president in order, and their historical contribution. Clark eventually gains the respect of his students and when they know how much he cares, they accept and live within the essential rules, and accept the consequences when a rule is broken. Covey states consistent rules, expectations and consequences should be understood and enforced, and indicates we act unkindly when we shield people from consequences of their own behavior (2003).
One day Clark passes out in the classroom suffering rom pneumonia and when the doctor prescribes bed rest he continues teaching by sending videotaped lessons for the principal to play. By doing this Clark not only kept his promise to teach them, he also taught his students to be creative and to think outside of the box, along with reinforcing his devotion to their learning. There were several issues or dilemmas Mr. Clark had to deal with, but the one I chose to present is the day Mr. Clark lost control and gave up.
Shameika Wallace the ringleader and the smartest girl in the class, made it her mission to get rid of Mr. Clark like several other teachers before him. One day Mr. Clark seriously lost his patience with Shameika, and expressed his anger, by violently shaking Shameika’s desk, then he grabbed his backpack, said “you win” and he left the school without notifying anyone. At that moment Clark not only lost his patience, he also lost control, and gave up. All of the students were stunned, they had never seen or heard Mr. s The way Clark dealt witn the situation is what Covey calls tight or flight.
Covey states there are many forms of flight, such as escaping involvement and esponsibility like many of the students in the class did, or like Shameika’s sulking. Later that day a friend helped Clark to see that the helplessness he experienced at that moment with Shameika was what his students experience every day. This was an aha moment and Clark utilized this new found empathy as a teaching moment. With the fires refueled and his own code of ethics back in check, he was back in the classroom the following Monday with a fun grammar exercise.
Students had to find the verb in the sentence “Mr. Clark is a boomerang” while every 15 seconds an ssigned student clanged the candy Jar for Mr. Clark to chug down a h pint of chocolate milk. One of the students asked another what a boomerang was. He made the lesson fun, and interactive. The lesson was relevant, students were engaged, they were motivated, and inspired but most of all they were glad he was back, which was the moment of full acceptance and commitment to rule number 1 we are family. Like the 6 or 7 teachers before him Mr.
Clark experienced a sense of futility and had a lapse of Judgment when he threw his hands up and walked out on the kids, but his wn values of integrity, maturity and abundance mentality ultimately guided his decision to go back into the classroom. Had I experienced the same thing, I probably would have sent Shameika to the principal’s office and tried to gain control of the class. As teachers and leaders we have a moral responsibility to the students, and when they are unruly it is better for them if we “let natural consequences teach responsible behavior. ” (Covey P. 128).
Covey states that people may not like the consequences but we should care enough or them to “suffer their displeasure. ” (P. 128). If however, I lost control and acted out in aggression the way Clark did, I would not have left the class without at least letting the principal know. Even if I felt that the only course of action left was to walk away from the situation, I still have an obligation and moral responsibility not to leave the minor children in my charge alone without telling another adult at the school, especially after an emotionally charged event. Covey states emotional maturity is “the balance between courage and consideration. It is a delicate balance to maintain, and when he got his mojo back Ron Clark led his 6th graders to champion their test scores.