Georgia Teacher of the Year Finalist John R. Tibbetts teaches Economics at Worth County High in Worth County Schools.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a teacher?
After I retired from the Army and a short stint with industry, I felt teaching would be a natural extension of my military training and experience.
What keeps you in the classroom?
The students. I enjoy helping them grow and learn, and especially to engage with them. I feed off their energy and the excitement of learning something new!
What character qualities make great teachers?
Empathy, patience and a pinch of stubbornness, as well as a healthy sense of humor.
What is your favorite part of the school year? Why? [You can’t say summer or recess]
As an economics teacher, I use several simulations in my classroom. I really get charged up on days when we're doing what I know will be an engaging simulation.
What is your favorite technology to use for engaging students in learning?
I really enjoy being able to use and access my teacher website. It is not only easy for me to update and access, but it provides an always ready, accessible platform I can point students (and parents) to in order to access material we've studied in class, prep material, and my extra credit assignment. I tell them, "It's on my website!"
Everyone likes to know the morning routine of successful people. What is yours?
I'm a creature of habit. The alarm goes off at 6:00. I get up, start the coffee brewing, shower, shave and dress and try to get out the door by 6:50 without waking my wife. I have a 20-minute drive to work that allows me time to listen to NPR and get my thoughts in order for the day ahead. I arrive at work about 5 minutes before we have to clock in, which means I'm not hurried and then have about 30 minutes in my room before students arrive.
What do you tell students when they need encouragement?
You can do this! Don't give up. If there's a problem I can help you with - I will, or we'll will get you to someone who can.
What do you tell other teachers when they need encouragement?
I always try to be positive and empathetic... "Friday's coming! ...and doggone it, people like you!"