We've been getting to know the Golden Apple Award winners the past few weeks, and now, we want you to meet a teacher who says it's extremely important to get to know his students on a personal level.
Jim Schoepski of Belvidere High School has been teaching for more than three decades. What he has learned in that amount of time is to be relatable, and keep up with the latest trends which he says can be difficult these days.
"When I started teaching you could still listen to like Top 40 radio and that was what most of the kids were listening to," Mr. Schoepski says. "Now, everybody's got his own little genre so finding the 'in' is a little harder these days than it used to be, but you try to stay current and make it fun."
Like searching for obscure things on the internet, but he says he has to always keep his eyes and ears open.
"You have to pay attention to what they wear, what they talk about," he says. "You try to do that because if you can humanize the classroom then you have a chance to teach kids."
He says that's one of the most important things when teaching, ensuring the comfortability of his students by using tactics to relax them and make them feel less intimidated when they walk into his classroom.
"I have lights on in the room so that they come in and they're instantly relaxed," he says. "I used to have a couch in my room when I had a bigger room. They didn't really sit on it all that much but it was just a matter they felt a little more comfortable. When you make them feel as if you have a relationship with them as human beings, it means they don't feel as if they're in some kind of interrogation mode."
To let them know that he's only human and wants nothing more than to see them succeed.
The Golden Apple Awards ceremony is Friday, May 1.