Improvise, Adapt, And Overcome In Education

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

“Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome,” is a motto among many of my fellow Marine Corps vets. We learned in the Marines Corps that the ability to put these traits into action helps us in life no matter what our job or our role would shape our culture. 

The Marines understand no matter if we have to fight with crude, outdated weapons or gear, we could win any battle, because of the creativity and the ingenuity of our people and our burning commitment to success at all costs. Losing is not in our vocabulary.

To improvise, you need mental and physical strength, and use whatever is available. To adapt, you have to be willing to change, if necessary, and using what is available in a new or different manner. To overcome, you have to push the boundaries of your physical and mental capacity, you have to make the necessary changes, but the key is an unwavering pursuit of the victory ahead. Whatever prevents you from achieving your goals, you have to figure out how to get around the obstacle. 

As a Tennessee classroom teacher in Meigs County and Bradley County, I also applied those lessons. The rural systems in which I taught were underfunded, high-poverty, and at-risk communities. While things have improved tremendously in our state, challenges remain. 

I learned that my talent as a teacher depended less on my knowledge of subject matter and more on my creative ability to work with outdated textbooks, lack of supplies, and outdated facilities. I also recognized that I had the one intangible in my possession that I had to utilize kids who truly wanted to learn. 

People talk about hunger as an issue, and it is indeed hard to teach a child who has not eaten or had inadequate food sources or nutrition. I saw my students with a thirst for knowledge, and hunger in their eyes to learn. 

A former student recently posted a picture of my first-year teaching on social media, and it reminded me of the importance of an educator in the lives of student success I believe the welfare of students must be placed above all other considerations with our top priority being the education of children. It has to be every educator’s primary mission to create a quality educational experience in a safe environment for our students. 

Teaching is not an eight-hour-a-day, five-day-a-week job. There are many duties that educators tackle that do not require pedagogical skills or experience in the classroom but are necessary for the profession. Every educator has to possess the motivation to see their students succeed. Along with a shared vision that all children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to successfully embark upon their chosen path in life. Educators must embrace the highest ethical standards, and keep those who dishonor the profession out of our classrooms. 

Teachers simply cannot give up on themselves, nor can we ever give up on our students. We have to improvise, adapt, and overcome both our personal and systemic challenges. The world is filled with stories of success that started with just one person believing in another. You may not see immediate success, but by perseverance, you will ultimately see personal success, and the children in our public-school classrooms will be the ultimate winners. We will not lose.

JC Bowman
Executive Director of Professional Educators of Tennessee 


A Richness Of Poverty In Our Schools

Clearing Up The Misconception About Medicare Recipients

Tennessee Supreme Court Upholds Decision To Exclude Videotape Of Post-Polygraph Statements


Education is a proven path to upward mobility for all students. “Our schools can’t do it all, or all by themselves” according to a 2017 commentary by Mike Petrilli. Mr. Petrilli is correct. I ... (click for more)

I am a senior citizen and retiree with health problems. I've worked since I was 14-years-old and even younger doing odd jobs. I've been the spouse of a military veteran who kept the family going ... (click for more)

In an opinion released Wednesday, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that a trial court acted within its discretion in excluding from trial a defendant’s videotaped statements given in a post-polygraph ... (click for more)


Opinion

A Richness Of Poverty In Our Schools

Education is a proven path to upward mobility for all students. “Our schools can’t do it all, or all by themselves” according to a 2017 commentary by Mike Petrilli. Mr. Petrilli is correct. I would add to his statement you can’t do it without a great teacher either. Nick Hanauer, an entrepreneur and a venture capitalist, wrote in The Atlantic in July 2019: “However justifiable ... (click for more)

Clearing Up The Misconception About Medicare Recipients

I am a senior citizen and retiree with health problems. I've worked since I was 14-years-old and even younger doing odd jobs. I've been the spouse of a military veteran who kept the family going while that spouse was away either in training or sent farther way somewhere else. Spouses, parents and grannies, especially, are the unsung heroes of the enlisted when military calls the ... (click for more)

Breaking News

State Dismisses Manslaughter Charge Against Jadarius Knox; Anguished Mother Of Victim Says "He Didn't Have To Kill Him"

The District Attorney's Office on Thursday dismissed a voluntary manslaughter charge against Jadarius Knox, saying evidence in the case in which Dakota Biddle was killed showed a self defense theory could be found to be valid. Knox was original charged with criminal homicide in the May 2018 incident on Basswood Drive, but it was reduced to voluntary manslaughter at the Grand ... (click for more)

Lookout Mountain, Ga. Town Center Work To Start Soon; Jim Sabourin Resigns From Council And Is Replaced By Kevin Leckenby

After eight years of talking and planning, Lookout Mountain, Ga., is ready to begin building a new Town Center. To begin with there will be two municipal buildings, City Hall and a fire station. The design of the area has space for private developers to build commercial buildings in the future. Adhering to design guidelines provided by the city and aiming for a cost of $2.8 ... (click for more)

Sports

Big-Play East Ridge Rolls Past Whitwell In Season Opener

Oh, what a difference a year can make. Last fall, the Whitwell Tigers were undefeated in football as they won their first state title in a season that was memorable in a number of ways. Fast forward to this season and the situation is totally different. The Tigers had to replace a bunch of graduating seniors and they’re getting used to a new head coach. Undoubtedly, Whitwell ... (click for more)

Sito Seoane Has Equalizer As Red Wolves Tie Tormenta

The Chattanooga Red Wolves’ Sito Seoane has a gift for scoring on the road. Of his four goals scored on the season, each and every one has been notched away from David Stanton Field. Goal number four was crucial, as it provided the equalizing score in Chattanooga’s 1-1 draw against Tormenta. Seoane’s critical score came in the 57th minute, after the sun had been tucked away and ... (click for more)