Superintendent's Message

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Stephen Covey

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts.” Henry David Thoreau

All students during this time in our world need constant motivation in order to learn. For the teacher this task can seem nearly impossible and exhausting, especially when students enter your classroom with no materials but lots of baggage—past failures, academic frustrations, and less-than-ideal attitudes.

As we venture into the season of Spring Sports let’s look at how what we do in our classrooms and workplace can be compared to the game of baseball:

Think about a group of young people playing a baseball game. The very things that motivate them to work hard and do well playing baseball can be adapted to the classroom:

Teamwork: Young people like working as a team. Yet often the learning activities we assign call for individual effort. By designing more team assignments, we can reap the benefits of teamwork. The weaker students will learn by having others help them. And, since teaching someone something is the best way to learn, the students who teach each other will learn better than if they were learning alone.

Fun: Sports are fun, exciting, and highly emotional. Learning experiences should be too. Strong and lasting memory is connected with the emotional state and experience of the learner. People remember more when learning is accompanied by strong emotions.

Enjoyment of Success: Playing a game provides a constant flow of accomplishments. Even the players on the losing team enjoy a strikeout, a good hit or a great catch. Breaking learning into smaller parts that can more easily be conquered, while producing feelings of accomplishment and success, will help motivate students to go forward even through very difficult material.

Activity: A baseball game is definitely not passive, but it requires both mental and physical activity. Teachers should strive to make learning always mentally active and often physically active as well.

Flexibility and Creativity: Baseball has rules, but within those rules the players have a range of choices and strategies for accomplishing a given goal. Students learn better when the directions have some flexibility and they can put some of “themselves” into the assignment.

The one strategy that consistently works for me is caring. I do know that we are all caring individuals, or else we wouldn’t be in this noble profession called teaching. We are all teachers whether you believe that or not. What I’m talking about is taking caring to the next level:

Allowing ourselves to be human in front of our students. Share stories, lessons learned, mistakes made. Young people are quite insecure at this age—they need to see the person, not just the teacher or authority figure.

Developing a relationship with our students. Try to learn about your students’ lives outside of school. It can make a world of difference, especially when their home situation is less than ideal.

Setting goals with individual students. For one student, it might be an attendance goal. For another, it might concern disruptive behavior. And remember to check on their progress because your concern and approval might be the only reward needed.

Enlisting the help of your colleagues.

It truly “takes a village" for the children in CCSD because they require that constant push. There are so many examples right here in our schools. I have seen our counselors and PBSS employees mentor some mighty challenging boys and girls over the months with great success. I see teachers smoothly lead numerous students in the mornings, during the day and afternoon as they help them get their work completed in small groups. I have watched our special needs teachers take students with so many challenges meet with success in their class.  I have seen middle school teachers who can pull some quality work out of the toughest middle grade boys and girls, and love every minute of it. I know that our coaches support academics and make sure the players know their expectations. I know that high school teachers work to match struggling students with those who can assist. I count myself blessed to be among each of you and learn from you daily. These are the things I have witnessed and know. These are just some of the things that make Colleton County School District great!

Just don’t give up, for long after the content has been forgotten, the teacher will be remembered.

I stand in awe of each of you daily.

Vallerie C. Cave, Ph.D.


Superintendent Vallerie Cave

Dr. Vallerie Cave

Email: [email protected]
Phone: ( 843) 782-4510