Educator Spotlight- Samuel Dickey

We are thrilled to feature Samuel Dickey, a middle school social studies teacher, from Prosper, Texas, who has been using our Geography Alive! Regions and People program and resources to get students excited and learning about the countries and cultures of the world. Read more about his experience using TCI in a blended learning environment and what it’s like to be an educator in the COVID era.

Can you please tell us a little about yourself?
I am a graduate of Oklahoma State University and have been married for about 3 years now. My wife is from Albania and she provides me a unique perspective of the world. I have a strong passion for travel. Before teaching I traveled the world for 2-3 years and lived in some amazing places like Alaska and Bulgaria. I have used these life lessons to help me teach my subject area, 6th grade World Cultures. My goal as a teacher is to bring real-world experience to help the subject become more relatable and important in the minds of my students.

What was your favorite subject when you were a student and why?
As a student, I always had a passion for history. I enjoyed the storytelling aspect of the subject. It allowed me to use my imagination to picture the scenarios that took place and apply the lessons learned to my life.

How do you integrate the TCI curriculum and tools into your classroom?
TCI has provided my classroom with valuable resources and incredibly relatable content. It helps paint a clear picture of the various continents, countries, and cultures of the world. It also has fun games and projects that allow me to receive 100% buy-in from my students.

What’s your favorite TCI lesson?
Land Use Conflict in the Amazon Rainforest and all of the Mapping Labs from Geography Alive! Regions and People program.

What specific results have you seen from implementing our solution?
By using the TCI mapping labs I have seen my student’s mapping skills grow exponentially! They are able to decipher and interpret a variety of maps and apply those skills to their tests/assessments. The “games” that are provided with each mapping lab are one of my student’s favorite things to do at the beginning of each unit. My students always buy 100% into these lessons.

Can you walk us through an impactful student experience involving TCI?
At the beginning of the school year, I was giving mapping labs to my students in a dry and unentertaining format. Due to this, I was struggling to get my students to buy in and our mapping skills were not as polished as they are currently. After switching to TCI mapping labs, my students are 100% bought in and are thriving no matter what map is given to them.

What online tools in our platform do you find helpful?
I love how each unit is broken down on TCI. TCI provides so many resources that allow me as a teacher to tailor each lesson toward what I believe will work best for my classes and students.

How have you used TCI in a distance or blended learning environment?
The beauty in TCI is that each teacher is able to push our valuable lessons, games, and assessments to students whether they are in class or learning virtually in the COVID-19 world we live in today.

What was it like to be a teacher in the COVID era?
It is awesome! I know that isn’t the usual answer, but this year has challenged me to be more creative and has pushed me to become a better teacher. I am appreciative of the challenge and this will only make me a more well-rounded teacher if we ever get back to a “normal world”.

What went well and what were some of the challenges?
Moving classwork to a more virtual setting has been both a benefit and a challenge. It has forced me to re-evaluate some of the lessons that have been taught in the past and find new and creative ways to present the information in an engaging way. TCI has been a major help in that!

What would you say to an educator that is new or just getting started with TCI?
Explore! There is no shortage of resources available to you and if you truly look through all of TCI, you will have no problem creating a classroom environment where students are excited to learn about the countries and cultures of the world.

Lastly, one teaching tip that you would like to share with other teachers?
Have fun! If you are having fun and enjoy your job it will rub off on your students and pass on a passion for learning.

 

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