Columbia- Brazoria BISD is home to many great teachers with various styles and methods of teaching. It is the goal of all of these teachers to provide a positive and engaging learning environment for their students.
One teacher in particular has been noticed by the district for excelling at providing an exciting and engaging atmosphere for students to make significant and healthy growth. David Raymond is a pre-kindergarten teacher at Wild Peach Elementary who also works as Sweet Potato the Clown on weekends. He is an energetic and enthusiastic person inside and outside of the classroom. Raymond combines his love for fun and his love for learning into a great classroom setting.
Raymond uses unique teaching methods that teach students through encouragement and inspire character development.
“My teaching methods work well because they are based on compassion, positive climate, high expectations and fun,” he said. “I have high expectations for each child, and I require them to do their very best in all activities.”
Raymond’s strong belief that love teaches better than anger has led to exceptionally well-behaved students, who learn to communicate when they are upset rather than act out.
“I see behavioral disruptions not as problems, but as teachable moments,” he said. “Working with my students over the years has taught me that compassion and discussion are much more effective than reprimand and punishment.”
There are many factors that contribute to Raymond’s success in the classroom, but by far the most impressive is his clear and undeniable dedication to his students. Raymond feels very passionately about the students he teaches, wanting to shape each and every one of them into determined, confident learners and individuals.
“I want my students to love to learn. I hope to create life-long learners. I want my students to create, build, and lead. Above all, I want my students to be compassionate and caring to others and themselves,” Raymond said.
Additionally, Raymond’s experience as a clown has helped him foster strong connections between himself and his students, while providing them with a positive environment to grow and learn.
“Sweet Potato is with me every day in my instruction. My clown persona is actually an exaggeration, or amplification, of my own personality,” Raymond said. “That same energy and playfulness that I use as Sweet Potato is a wonderful tool to help students learn and enjoy learning. If a student is happy, they are engaged and are open for knowledge. I have one of the happiest classes in the district.”
Wild Peach Elementary Principal Mary McCarthy has expressed her appreciation for having Raymond as a staff member. She is especially impressed with his ability to design classroom activities into exciting adventures that grab students’ attention and keep them involved.
“As a performer, he understands that teaching is also a performance, and that to engage young learners, the teacher must have high energy and engaging activities ready for the kids,” she said. “One day, I visited Mr. Raymond’s room only to find it transformed into a 737 airplane. Some students were flying the plane, some were flight attendants giving safety demonstrations, some were passengers putting on seat belts, and others were attendants serving ‘refreshments’. What an engaging way to learn about air travel.”
April Breazeale, a teacher at Wild Peach Elementary, said if she is ever having a bad day, she just goes next door to talk with Rasymond and she is able to forget her troubles for the moment. His unceasing stream of new and fun ways to get through to his kids is awe inspiring for his peers.
“I think the most amazing thing he does every year is when the kids are learning about dinosaurs. You walk down the hallway and see nothing but a huge pile of dirt all down the hallway,” she said. “What you’re looking at is a dinosaur bone graveyard. The kids have an amazing time digging through the dirt and finding the bones and pretending they know what dinosaurs they came from. Every day is a fun adventure with Mr. Raymond.”
Raymond is a model teacher whose fun-loving attitude and determination to be a positive and lasting influence on his students is truly heart-warming and inspiring. His belief in encouragement and discussion, rather than hard, cold discipline, as a consequence of negative behavior has allowed Raymond to help his students in ways that are sorely needed in classrooms today, especially for younger children who need a good start to continue to succeed in life.