Committed To My Students

Posted by on Feb 10, 2011 in blog | 0 comments

For Miller Park sixth-grade teacher, Ericka Boston, teaching is not simply her job, it’s who she is. With the countless hours spent creating new study aids and classroom projects, her work day rarely ends when the bell rings, and according to Boston, she wouldn’t want it any other way.

“I love teaching and I love children,” she says. Boston adds that her passion for education has been something she has had for as long as she can remember. “Growing up, I loved playing school and I always had to be the teacher,” she recalls. In addition to playing school with her friends, Boston says that her experience as a student also contributed to her desire to teach. “I was a slow learner and I believe it has made me the effective, patient educator I am today,” she says.

Her classroom is dotted with signs of her pay-it-forward character, from the many gifts and cards made by former students, which decorate her desk, to the wall of “Praise Buckets”, which Boston designed to encourage her students to express random kindnesses and appreciation for their fellow classmates.

One thing that Boston says has been helpful in motivating her students in the classroom is the Partnership’s goal setting program. “It serves as a great way to build the bridge between school and home, expressing the importance of goal setting and communication between student, teacher and family,” explains Boston. She also says that the program serves as another layer of positive reinforcement for the students. “They realize that there are people out there besides family and school staff that genuinely
care for them.”

Not only is the program a wonderful means of inspiration for the students, but Boston says that it is also a great motivator for the teachers as well. Classrooms that have 80% of students earning their reading and math goals are awarded $50 checks from the program. For many teachers like Boston, who often pay for classroom extras out of their own pocket, this $50 check can be extremely beneficial. Of course, because the check is earned by the classroom as a whole, Boston ensures that her entire classroom votes on how the money should be spent. “I’ve had classes decide to donate these funds to charities, buy classroom supplies and even donate it as scholarship money to a very committed college student who served as our teaching assistant!”

Boston’s belief in the Partnership’s goal setting program and her love of teaching is obvious, but her commitment to education goes beyond her classroom. In addition to the many hours she dedicates to her students, the single mother of two is also working to earn a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership, while simultaneously studying to achieve certification through the National Board For Professional Teaching Standards. Although her hectic load may seem nearly impossible for most, Boston makes it look effortless with her positive personality and infectious smile that spread to her students, co-workers and everyone she comes in contact with.

*To see the complete list of schools served by The Partnership For Our Kids programs, visit STUDENTS.

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