KA Teachers Share their Stories, to Best Support Learning (Mr. Crites)


The Fundamentals

I try to let students understand the way that I approach solving problems, and use that as the basis for students to articulate the way they approach problem solving. This reinforces critical thinking.

This also helps the class to work more, as a unit. This helps the learning remain more relevant.

Essential Student Success Habits...
Daily attendance and willing to work on foundational skills is important. Remaining focused and engaged is key.

Connecting with Families...
I’ve created a parent email group that I send every week. This helps families understand our goals, for the week, and keep track of when homework is due. I communicate with at least one parent every day, and throughout the week.

I’m currently piloting an Algebra 1 class for parents, after school. This will help families assist, or be more familiar with homework.

Favorite Topics...
Systems of linear equations (how and where lines come together or not). This topic combines so many foundational skills.

Favorite Type of Classroom Activities...
I like to use an approach called “Defend Your Strategy”. This means you have to convince the classroom that your strategy is the correct one, or one of several correct approaches.

Advice for Teachers...
I’ve been working since I was 8. My dad owned a grocery store, I was a radio disc jockey (14), volunteer firefighter, emergency medical technician, reserve deputy sheriff, 911 dispatcher.

I’ve owned my own business for about 15 years (grocery store, movie rental, Sears catalog store, restaurant owner), assistant manager at a hotel, and also worked in commercial construction (electrician) for 10 years (Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and Staples Stores, nationally). It’s been a wonderful life, and I’ve appreciated the variety.

I was that beginning teacher that felt like I wasn’t doing enough. I had a veteran teacher tell me that “this too shall pass”. He showed me how to learn from other teachers, and share resources.

My main advice is, even if it hurts a little bit, you have to take time for yourself. No matter how small. Just take ten minutes. You have to make a little bit a time of yourself.

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