Our Spotlight on Outstanding Teachers 


What do teachers make? They make a difference! Teachers are the most important part of what we do at DBE. But let’s get real! Teachers are some of the most important people in our society…period!

Meet the Champions shines a spotlight on outstanding teachers, and how
they make a difference. Right here on the Quick Key Blog, we will be
interviewing real working teachers from around the globe, who make a
difference in their classrooms every day.

Today: Al Elliot, 5th Grade (All Subjects)

Al Elliot is a committed educator, with 17 years in the classroom, and currently teaching 5th grade (all subjects).  He holds a Masters of Elementary Education, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education at University of Alabama at Birmingham. 

Al has dedicated his life to improving the lives of others. He also brings the skilled voice of a master poet to all he does. This poet’s perspective on the world allows him to connect with students and teachers from all walks of life.

Importantly in this age of information, Al is also a connector! He brings teachers together once a month in his Monday’s Eve Google Chats, where teachers and leaders can share best practices and practical advice. Al’s leadership in the progressive community of teachers has allowed him to share his knowledge, and he has also gained insights from other teachers on how to benefit from technology in the classroom.

We are grateful to have Al as a Quick Key Champion, and we are glad he was willing to share with all of us. You can find Al on Google+ here.

So, without further ado…let’s meet a champion!

DBE: Why did you choose to become a teacher?

AE: I chose to become a teacher because I enjoy the feeling of being able to change the world.  Young people, for better or for worse, will inherit the planet and eventually run it.  I like the idea of having something to do with shaping the minds that will change the world.


DBE: What is the biggest highlight from your classroom this year?

AE: I’d have to have to say that the biggest highlight from this school year is the feeling of community that was established among my students.  My students were very supportive of their classmates.  They even formed a class band and performed in the school talent show playing a desk, recorder and dodge balls.  Close second would be the students wanting to bring their own devices to school to do school work and not just play games.  Many students in my class had access to a “better” device [than] the nooks that were provided by the school.  Students were working on Google Docs on their iPods, iPads, phones and Chromebooks that they brought to school.  

DBE: Tell us about  a teacher who inspired you. How did they do it? What made them great?

AEI remember my high school English teacher Mr. Nevett.  Not only was he an extremely well dressed educator, he was also an artist and a man that wasn’t afraid to buck the system every now and again and stand on what he thought was best for his students.  I still remember the slogan he made up for the standardized tests that were given when I was in high school.  “School, a place where education is encouraged and SAT is God.”


DBE: How can technology help you be more efficient in the classroom?

AE: The school system I work in is a GAFE (Google Apps for Education) system.  This means that I use Google Drive with my students for word processing and presentation needs.  I’m able to read their work and leave comments on projects they are working on from my phone, tablet or computer.  Technology also helps me communicate with my students in a more efficient way as well.  I can email out reminders, announcements, homework and project assignments.  I even had a few students that took pictures of their homework and turned it in this way when they knew they would be absent.  My students also would communicate with each other in real time when collaborating on a project by using Google Drive as well.


DBE: What is really hard about teaching, and how do you deal with it?

AE: The hardest part about teaching is to implement programs that are mandated you participate in during the school year.  There are some scripted programs out there, that seem to take the creativity teachers have out of the classroom.  To deal with this challenge, I make sure I’m familiar with the standards that are to be covered and let the activities we do in class work towards meeting the standards and objectives and not just cover the mandated programs and hope the kids get it.  I also invite suggestions from the students about how we, as a class, can meet the objectives that must be covered.  When students know they have a choice in how they present or research a topic, they seem to respond with more excitement.


DBE: Thanks Al! 

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