Tonya’s philosophy about teaching is simple. She agrees with Madeline Hunter when she said, “Kids don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!” Many think Madeline Hunter was being too “warm and fuzzy,” but she realized that you are not going to reach some kids academically until you first reach them on a personal level. Sometimes the subject matter in our classrooms can’t compete with the “drama” in their lives. The main ingredient missing in a lot of our classrooms today is a “connection with kids.” Tonya believes that research is clear: when students know you value them as a human being, not just another student, they will work harder for you and challenge you less.
Tonya also believes teachers don’t need any more theory and new, trendy programs with catchy names. She believes teachers need to be given research based, proven, practical strategies and applications that they can implement immediately – without throwing anything out that is working in their classroom.
Teaching is a Tough Job!
Having classroom experience herself, Tonya believes educators have the toughest job in America and are daily asked to wear many different hats–mom, counselor, teacher, advisor, chaperone, nurse, fundraiser, judge and jury–just to name a few. Students, too, come into our classrooms from different socio-economic backgrounds and cultures (and languages!), cognitive abilities, and experiences that are just as wide ranging. Sometimes the only thing students have in common is their age! A “one-size-fits-all” approach does not work anymore.
Tonya knows that the biggest unchallenged assumption by many today (especially politicians) about education is that kids are coming to school ready and willing to learn. As educators, we know this is not the case. We have a generation of kids coming to our schools basically un-socialized. Many students are learning behavior from South Park, MTV, The Simpsons, Jersey Shore and a myriad of other influences.
Practical Strategies That Work!
There’s not much we can do from 4:00 PM until 8:00 AM, but there is a lot we can do from 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM. Tonya is dedicated to helping educators be successful in their classrooms through motivation, inspiration, humor and a common-sense approach to stress management. Most importantly, she leaves educators with many proven, practical techniques and strategies that eliminate 70 to 80 percent of low-level disruptive behavior that robs teachers of teaching time and students of learning time. For Tonya, sharing this information is just a way to honor the excellent educators who shared their care, encouragement, enthusiasm, and love along the way. Now it’s time to pass it on!
- National Trainer, Classroom Management
- Tutoring Center Director
- Vocal Music Teacher, Grades 1-12
- University Director of International Student Services and Study Abroad
- Bachelor of Arts Degree, Music Education, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
- Master's Degree, International Administration, School for International Training, Brattleboro, VT