It is that season again when most school systems begin a new academic year. We started classes at the university last Monday, but most of the public school districts in our area begin in the next few days. I took the opportunity last week to visit my student teaching candidates as they were helping their site teachers with classroom setup. The old “beginning of the year” excitement was very evident in every school I visited. I remember that excitement well as I enjoyed setting up my classroom every fall for almost 25 years. Later this week, I will meet with my candidates and begin our semester-long course on classroom management. To me, effectively managing a classroom is the key to everything for the year. A teacher cannot teach successfully, or children learn successfully, without an effective classroom routine. Research tells us that it is the attitude of the teacher that is the key factor in teaching reading, math, and other academic subjects. My job this semester is to model for my student teachers how human development should be the foundation of that classroom management. Our educational system is so focused on academic teaching that teachers don’t receive a lot of support for meeting the needs of their students using developmental principles. Those principles are the key to understanding how students function. It is not just early childhood children who should reap the benefits of developmentally appropriate practice. Understanding the developmental stage of a 9 year-old will be a tremendous help for the teacher in a fourth grade classroom. My job is to help my group of future teachers understand those principles.
Manager of Educational Programs, Excelligence Learning Corporation
University Clinical Instructor
Credentials and Accolades:
M.Ed., Early Childhood Education
1996 Utah Teacher of the Year
1998-1999 President, Utah AEYC
2011 Outstanding Teaching Award, University of Utah
John Funk has worked in early childhood since 1979. He taught preschool, 1st and 2nd grades and kindergarten. He worked as an early childhood specialist for a large school district and managed early childhood services for Salt Lake CAP Head Start. He is past president of the Utah AEYC. As an early childhood, reading, and literacy consultant for the last decade, he has written on early childhood subjects and products for McGraw Hill and Leap Frog. He served on the editorial panel for Young Children magazine published by NAEYC.
Currently, John is the Manager of Educational Programs for Excelligence Learning Corporation, and he teaches courses in early childhood, children’s literature, classroom management, reading methods and supervises student teachers at the University of Utah.