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This week’s feature is Lance Moore. Lance Moore is a high school teacher and coach at Provo High. He has been teaching for about 22 years.  Here is what Coach Moore wrote about his reason for teaching:

The Power of Example

by Lance Moore

I remember the first time that a teacher belittled me. I also remember the first time a teacher told me I wasn’t good at something. I also remember extremely well when some of my best, most caring teachers helped me through some very difficult times in my life. I remember when these teachers helped me when I needed someone to show me that they cared about me. These people made me feel worth something; they made me want to work, to learn, and to improve. All of these teachers—the good and the bad examples—made we want to be a teacher so that I could be more like the positive teachers in my life than the negative ones.

In first grade, the class was reading a story silently; our teacher told the class to ask her if we didn’t know a word while we were reading. Like it happened yesterday, I remember getting to the word, “pancake.” It seems simple now—two small nouns that make a larger compound noun. At first, I struggled for a moment. Then, I remember that I was able to figure it out and I read the word! I was pretty proud of myself, and I truly didn’t need her help. A few minutes later, we read the story aloud. Inevitably, the teacher called on me to read the paragraph with “pancake.” I had forgotten the word, and when I got to it this time, I froze up in front of the whole class. She belittled me in front of all of my friends, and I remember how angry I was at her. I had lost all trust in her as my teacher. I guess, in a way, she motivated me. I worked really hard at getting better at reading, but I now realize that there are many better ways to motivate.

In middle school, I had Jerry Maier as my P.E. teacher. He cared about the kids that he taught so much. He taught us something every day; he made sure to take advantage of every opportunity to be a positive example to us, and he always asked us how we were. He was likeable, yet he was a fairly strict disciplinarian. He was the type of person that made you want to do well. I remember, one time, when another kid and I got into a fight, Mr. Maier simply said, “I expect more from you than that, Lance.” It hurt me so badly that I had disappointed him—that I’d let him down. Just as importantly, he moved on. After my punishment, he didn’t stop caring about me, nor did he treat me differently. He forgave me, and he once again expected me to do well.

I became a teacher because I wanted to make a difference in kids’ lives. I like my subject matter, but I really love the opportunity that I have to expect greatness from students. I love the opportunity that I have to make a positive difference in the lives of my students. I hope that like Jerry Maier, I can help students through difficult times in their lives, and that I can teach them about English language arts, and more importantly, that I can help them lead great lives.

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