Caring teacher motivates pupils to want to achieve

Helping children to believe and achieve is Alana Weare Carver's goal as a fourth-grade teacher at Deer Chase Elementary School.

"I tell them that whatever they think they can do, they will do. That's the bottom line," said the teacher, who is in the early intervention program. "Some of them came in thinking that they couldn't do something, but each day I reiterate that they can. The power of suggestion is an amazing thing. Now there's nobody in here who thinks they can't do it."

According to the Georgia Department of Education, the early intervention program targets "students who are at risk of not reaching or maintaining academic grade level."

Making the pupils less anxious about making mistakes is one of her goals, Ms. Carver said.

"Kids are sometimes so afraid to make mistakes that they just don't try. I tell them, 'This is school. This is where you learn, and it's OK to make mistakes,' " she said.

"Though they may not get it at first, it's OK because we are going to work on it and we are going to meet our goals. They can still learn the material, and they will learn it."

Ms. Carver likes to be creative in her approach to teaching.

"I try to make learning fun, so I do fun things to help them remember material," she said. "If we need to create a song, we'll create a song. If we need to draw, we do that. If we need to come up with a dance, we do that, too. If it'll help them learn, I'm all for it."

The pupils also have their own victory dance to celebrate their accomplishments, she said.

"It's a fun way to celebrate, and they know when they accomplish something they've been victorious," she said. "They've stepped up to the challenge and won."

Ms. Carver's pupils respond well to her because they know she cares, said Beth Woolard, who works with Ms. Carver in the classroom.

"She tells her kids on a daily basis, 'I really love you,' " Ms. Woolard said. "They know they are loved. However, if they do something wrong, she lets them know.

''They don't blow up or get upset, though. They know she's correcting them because she cares for them. Just knowing someone cares is motivation to do their best."

Being a teacher means being a cheerleader, Ms. Carver said.

"I pull for each and every one of them, and when they know someone is pulling for them it can make a world of difference," she said. "That's why I enjoy teaching -- because I can make a difference."

Reach Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

TEACHER OF THE MONTH: ALANA WEARE CARVER

FAMILY: Daughter Avery, 7

SCHOOL: Deer Chase Elementary School

GRADE TAUGHT: Fourth

HAS BEEN TEACHING: Since 2001

WHAT IS COMMUNITY COUNTS?

Community Counts is The Augusta Chronicle's collaborative effort to benefit the communities in our area. This multitiered program of involvement includes recognition of outstanding youths, teachers, volunteers and public servants in the area.

Nomination forms are available online at augustachronicle.com/communitycounts or you can contact Nikasha Dicks at (706) 823-3336 or nikasha.dicks@augustachronicle.com.

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Craig Spinks
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Craig Spinks 01/08/09 - 03:04 am
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KUDOS to Ms. Carver for her

KUDOS to Ms. Carver for her enthusiastically positive efforts with kids and to the AC for recognizing them.

Edward1968
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Edward1968 01/08/09 - 12:49 pm
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We need more teachers with

We need more teachers with this approach to and care for students.

jim.weare
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jim.weare 01/08/09 - 09:38 pm
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I am so proud of Ms Carver .

I am so proud of Ms Carver . The article captured her spirit , drive ,and dedication towards education and the children . I have known her for a long time . A proud dad

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/09/09 - 02:08 am
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""Kids are sometimes so

""Kids are sometimes so afraid to make mistakes that they just don't try. I tell them, 'This is school. This is where you learn, and it's OK to make mistakes,' " she said." ---- Teaching sure has come a long way from the dread of being called in class to recite your multiplication tables. If you got one wrong, the teacher would rap your knuckles with a ruler; if you got more wrong, you were paddled. Not even 40 years ago, either. No wonder why folks dropped out of school, then. This is an improvement. Shouldn't be punishing kids so they will learn, they need to learn in environment that ENCOURAGES WANTING to learn MORE! Not scaring them away. Because of that environment, I learned more outside class (and slept in class due to uninspiring subjects and teachers who thought torturing kids with what pens and paper to use or get a F-. Nope, not even about content, just conforming), but I was fortunate to have the means of having abridged dictionaries and Encyclopedia Britannica at my fingertips (plus subscriptions to science magazines), Those who didn't, fell through the "cracks". So kudos for saving a generation from the RCBE itself!!!!

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/09/09 - 02:34 am
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Oh, and to add to what's

Oh, and to add to what's wrong with the RCBE school system for decades. Have a relative who's MENSA qualified (who actually was a certified car mechanic at 16, believe it or not). He was so bored in class he started bringing comic books to read them (heck, I was even sewing as it got that bad. Gifted program? It was for those who conformed to the 10001 regulations that had zip to do with education). The teachers would think they would get him by calling him out with questions --- not only did he answer them, HE HAD TO CORRECT SOME ANSWERS FROM THE TEACHERS THEMSELVES (you can guess who got tired of that tactic, right? lol). So he had enough of it in high school and decided to drop out. The principle told him he'll "amount to nothing". He joined the Job Corps, blew their exams and scores to the stratosphere, and after a stint in the military (which proves yes he could "conform" in the RIGHT ENVIRONMENT), has been a network engineer for over 20 years. Moral: RCBE you hurt more than you helped, and actually drove good students away.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/09/09 - 04:47 am
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And please send a memo to

And please send a memo to your teachers, school systems, when addressing education, that the teachers are a model of it --- http://chronicle.augusta.com/stories/2009/01/08/met_506858.shtml?cpage=l... --- I never graduated from high school (thanks RCBE for denying it), but I at least know enough of the English language, and grammar, to *see* that. Sad isn't it the state of our education? Money doesn't buy good teachers, it's teachers that are just flat out good at WHAT they teach that makes good EDUCATORS!

old school graduate
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old school graduate 01/09/09 - 10:35 am
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Alana is a dynamo in

Alana is a dynamo in everything she does. She's also beautiful, caring, witty and a great mother to Little Avery. Congrats and lots of love from Aunt Cheeks.

concercitizen
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concercitizen 01/09/09 - 12:27 pm
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Fresh out of high school, I

Fresh out of high school, I applied to and was acceped at Georgia Southern College.Only one problem; I had to take remedial courses to get up to speed. If it had not been for one professor, and I can't recall her name,( it's been 30 years), I would probably still be thinking that I had no ability to learn. Through this professor's constant approval and support I became a model student. I learned that studying meant opening the text book and studying the material, not just showing up in class and frowning every time a new concept was put on the board. With the exception of a mental disability, every one has the ability to learn. Every student should be taught this from the first day in preschool until the day they graduate from high school. I highly commend Ms. Carver for her attitude toward the studens she teaches, and all I can say is that every school system needs more teachers like her.

Aparent1
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Aparent1 01/09/09 - 04:52 pm
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I have seen Ms. Carver in

I have seen Ms. Carver in action and I can tell you that she is all that this article claims and more. In this day and time children require everything an educator can bring to the table to meet the requirements that are set forth in the school districts. Not only does Ms. Carver think outside of the box she teaches her students to do the same. Ms. Carver implements real life strategies that will serve them well way past the time they will spend hitting the books in a Richmond County School. Teachers like Ms. Carver need to be applauded and sought after to bring back learning into the classroom. My hat is off to you for the energy and enthusiasm that you bring into the classroom. May all students be blessed with at least one Alana Carver as an educator during their lifetime.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/09/09 - 11:43 pm
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"Only one problem; I had to

"Only one problem; I had to take remedial courses to get up to speed." --- When I was in junior high we had a 301 level social studies teacher. She was tough, she made us keep detailed and copious note books which she even graded (never had to take down notes so fast in my life, as she talked a mile a minute!). Why? Because one of the first speeches she gave us was her experience at teaching English Composition at AC (well, it was Augusta College then). She said 80% of the students coming from RC schools flunked English Composition 101. 80%. That should give everyone here a clue about the quality the education coming from this school district (and for the grammar Nazis -- yes my grammar sucks, but this is what was taught, and this is what I learned, and it's much better than most! Last GED pretest I took, I was sophomore college level or higher in anything but grammar. 8th grade level...thanks NOT RCBoE!). Don't know how much has changed in 30 years, but I don't believe it's improved to the point that remedial education for high school ***graduates*** has been eliminated (see it's offered even still at AT). Teaching bible studies in school is more important!

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/09/09 - 11:58 pm
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"Teachers like Ms. Carver

"Teachers like Ms. Carver need to be applauded and sought after to bring back learning into the classroom." --- YESSSS!!! A whole army of such teachers who are motivated, learnt in their chosen field, and understand that students learn at different levels and due to different reasons. We're not robots, we are also creative and have curiosities. Instead of telling kids to "sit down, shut up", and listen to the computer style dialog, INSPIRE them to learn MORE. I loved that 301 social studies teacher for what she taught, but also didn't like that it was rote. No time to ask questions on what was studied. No time to THINK. It's write, write, write and read LATER -- when you wanted the teacher around to ask questions WHY George Washington did what he did (to dig deeper). Rote isn't exactly educating kids, that's programming them. Educate the kids to ask questions, to find novel ways to solve problems/issues -- they'll be tomorrow's leaders and need those skills, as much as knowing how to dress for a job interview. Kill curiosity we become but lemmings waiting for a cliff.

bone
23
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bone 01/10/09 - 07:17 am
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you'd make a fine teacher,

you'd make a fine teacher, Sandy. you should consider going back and finishing your education and enrolling in a program that gives you the opportunity to put your theories into practice. one of the best things you could possibly do for yourself & others is to take the positive lessons you learn & share them with young people.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/10/09 - 10:33 am
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Couldn't teach in these

Couldn't teach in these schools today. Too political. Would've loved to have been a teacher at the turn of the 20th century, though (would've learned Latin, and that difficult Spencerian handwriting [love calligraphy], and math without depending on a calculator [imagine Einstein did all his calculations without any, let alone a computer]). Academics was more serious then, and mostly with educators who were model citizens. Today, I can goto a blog and see some professors make fools out of themselves; and/or on some crusade to make the world believe their world view, cussing and dissing anyone who disagrees. RCBoE would've turned me into THAT if I graduated (as that's the status quo in education these days), so in some ways I glad I never did -- I never stopped learning to keep up with the "flow", I study everything and question stumbling blocks, instead. Hopefully, teachers like in this article can turn the tide, and hopefully students will learn to take their studies more seriously, as they'll be the new leaders someday.

SIGHER
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SIGHER 01/11/09 - 11:18 am
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Way to go, Ms. Carver!

Way to go, Ms. Carver! That's what I'm talking about!

corgimom
27360
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corgimom 01/12/09 - 06:18 pm
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I don't often agree with

I don't often agree with Sandy but what she said about the 80% fail rate for English at Augusta College was true. I knew students who took all the courses and did very well but couldn't pass English so they couldn't graduate. I thank God I tested out of it, and I was one of the few people that did. It was well known that if you could pass that, you could pass anything else.

SandyK2005
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SandyK2005 01/13/09 - 03:13 am
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There's a lot of graduates in

There's a lot of graduates in this area who got their diploma who can't even read. They just conformed and were passed, and literally given their diploma. Still goes on today, despite testing (as the state standards test showed last year, they couldn't flunk all those students, it would've been a riot). School here is more about conforming, not so much about education. You're hammered down to accept sub-standard teaching and sub-standard lessons. Then if you don't conform, you're expelled. Remember the open-campus lunch program that the school system revoked, and the students protested by a sit in (no rioting, just a sit in in the cafeteria). The RCBoE solution? Call the police and have kids thrown into school buses to be shipped and booked as criminals. Their policy is to "take it or leave it", not listen to the students. A too top heavy management system, and what you expect out of a penal system (which the kids regarded their school after that, especially when they started chain link fencing the schools). The whole atmosphere changed, and then folks wonder why students changed with it, too????

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