How to Be a Good Teacher | Jim Fazio | Episode 653


Jim Fazio | Episode 653

Jim Fazio started his career as educator after graduating from Illinois State University in 2012. Jim has been teaching for the past seven years and currently teaches Ceramics at a public high school in Illinois. “Ceramic Jim” started as a YouTube channel in March of 2018. Its original purpose was to provide support and enrichment opportunities for Jim’s ceramics students but as his passion for video grew, Jim rediscovered his first love: Ceramics. Jim specialize in colored porcelain. Though not a full-time studio potter, Jim is making pots and is doing so with intent and precision and is producing quality work of which Jim is proud of.


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How important is it for a teacher to instill confidence in their students?

It’s crucial. It isn’t always as needed in some kids. Some kids have that confidence and maybe you just coach it more. But gosh, there are some kids that are just so low, like on themselves, down in the dumps. It’s really difficult and you feel for them. They come to class with this cloud over their head but there are those moments when you reach that kid. Or as a group of seven teachers who are meeting about this kid, to reach this kid, you are a small part and you see that kid grow over a semester or a year or in my case…I had a kid as a freshman in an art and design class and then I had him as a senior last spring and to see the jump from a freshman boy, very, very…a young freshman boy who struggled a lot. To see him where he is now, he was working for the school as their IT programmer because he was a huge computer guy. They found what worked for him and they supported him and four years later you would not recognize him. Instilling confidence is necessary. It isn’t always easy and sometimes very difficult but you do that by building relationships with the kids and from their you do the rest of the stuff. At the core, it’s building relationships.

Can you explain what classroom management is and then explain why it is so critical?

Classroom management by definition would be, providing an environment for students that allows them to learn and interact with as few distractions as possible to reach their maximum potential.

At the end of the day, kids are wired to learn. They don’t know it, they may not believe it, maybe they know it. but if you can mitigate distractions you can redirect. Every kid has a approaches that works better for them and for the teacher, but if you can get rid of all the junk and allow all the natural urge to learn just happen, that’s way easier said then done, that’s what management is, allowing what is natural to happen.

How important is it for the teacher to be a believer in the student?

I think every teacher has gone through something where they know a person can be here and then they can become something  more. I think every teacher believes anyone can change and grow. Some kids don’t believe in themselves. Every kid should believe in themselves but some kids don’t and some kids’ parents might not. Some kids’ friends might not. You might be the only person who believes in that kid and that’s actually a scary thought to have. I don’t have it often, but you never know. A kid might be…I mean I really wouldn’t know but some kids might be on their own. They come to school and you don’t know their home life but you might be the only person that they come to school for. It could be just you that believes in them, so it’s crucial.

Does being a believer in the student help set higher expectations for the student?

Yeah, I think students who have adverse childhood experiences they know when they are being catered to, they know. They don’t want charity. They pick up on you trying to be nice to them for whatever reason so I try to hold everyone to the same standard. At the same time I realize that there are a multitude of things that kids have gone through that they bring to the class, what they are currently going through. socio-economic status, race, all kinds of things that are all a part of that student. So while you want to be consistent and I do try to be, you also are human and fair isn’t equal. It’s tough. It really is tough.

You have a herd of students to teach. How do you not just become a student mill and still be individualistic?

Some students don’t need to be talked to every day. I always say hello to the students at least once, but some students want to be more left alone. So quick casual check in. Some students are more of a group approach so this table, you talk with them for a little bit. Some kids want you to joke with them and want you to say, You can do better, come one, let’s go.  And give kind of a hard approach. You figure out what every kid needs eventually, some quicker than others. Once you get to know that kids you know what they need and how often. At least you think you know. I can’t imagine teaching 45 k ids like at public schools. That’s not realistic, but if I have a group of 20 kids it’s a good sweet spot.

What’s your favorite dad thing to do with your kids?

Most recently, I got a bike carrier, so taking my toddler on bike rides is awesome. She says, bike ride and helmet, daddy.  We go out alone, it’s our alone time, me and my daughter, Maggie. So that’s always special. But I like making up songs to them. My littlest one, Josephine, I don’t really sing to her too much, I mean I sing whatever I know, but to Maggie I sing songs, but recently she loves Hamilton because we play it all the time, And so the other day she was laying down in her crib and I asked her, Would you like me to sing you a song? and she said, Yes, Wise Up . So I have been rapping Hamilton to her to put her to sleep, that’s the coolest thing I can do. And so that’s my favorite thing right now.


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Instagram: @ceramicjim

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