“His innovative approach and consistent level of enthusiasm makes students love to learn from him,” Dr. McCarter said. “Not only does he work with students in the educational setting, he also provides employment for many of our youth throughout the summer with his lawn maintenance company. Having won a national championship with the Florida Gators football team, Mr. Crum has a true understanding of what teamwork is all about. His colleagues are happy to have a person who is willing to assist no matter the task that needs to be completed. Mr. Crum is truly an exemplary example of a dedicated educator.”
We talked with Mr. Crum about his path from athletics to education, his educational philosophy, and more.
When did you know you wanted to be a teacher? What was your path to the profession?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher after my last knee injury. I had plenty of time to reflect on my situation during rehabilitation. I didn't want my football playing career to be over; but it was. When I came home from rehab, I became a substitute teacher and loved it! My mother taught for over 30 years. While in college my teammates and I would come home to visit her and her students. During this time, I got a chance to observe my mother's connection with her students and saw how awesome it was to be able to influence so many in such a positive manner. I've had teachers and coaches who have changed my life for the better. That was the connection I wanted. I wanted my time spent doing something meaningful and fulfilling, so here I am.
The number-one lesson I've learned about students while being an educator? Every child is a new beginning. Every child is an opportunity to influence the world and our future. We just have to decide which type of influence we want to be.
What advice would you offer to a first-year teacher – or a student interested in becoming a teacher?
Advice for a young educator: Get all of your degrees taken care of BEFORE you start teaching. Be patient. Have a servant’s heart. Remember, you will learn more from your students than they will from you teaching them.
What’s the last moment that caused you to stop and remember why you love teaching?
A few months back, a woman sent me a Facebook message. She asked if I was related to Easter Crum. I answered, yes she's my mother. She asked me to wish her a happy birthday and went on to explain that she was in my mother's class over 20 years ago. She described a lonely childhood that involved neglect and abuse. She explained that during this time she felt like her only friend was her third grade teacher, Mrs. Crum. That’s when she said: “…her consistent kindness and smile got me through a rough time in my life and I never got to thank her." This is an example of the impression that can be made. This is why I love teaching. It's all about the relationships that are developed.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Every day, the goal is to improve others and myself.