B.S., Information and Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology
Who was the most influential teacher/coach/instructor when you were growing up? What was it about him/her that impacted you?
Mrs. Baugh, my 4th grade teacher was tough and no nonsense and rarely put up with any tom-foolery. We learned by example, the example being observing the discipline others received because of their fooling around. Her advice to me was, “Bobby, you should CHECK every subtraction you do for the rest of your life.” I have heeded her advice and I rarely miss a subtraction problem. When I do miss one, it doesn’t stay “missed” for very long.
Jerry Countryman my high school band director also made an impact on my life. He taught me to work hard for improved results. This applies to playing an instrument or learning math or anything else. I still dream about being in his band classes.
Why do you teach or work at a school?
I teach because I can remember the exact moment when God called me here. He confirmed that calling by opening doors or closing them along my path. He also showed me that His planning was better than mine by making the most difficult decisions trivial.
What is your teaching philosophy?
I am still rather old-fashioned in the classroom. There is huge value in the passing of information from one generation to the next so my philosophy centers around a student-teacher relationship where the teacher is still in charge of a classroom. While self-discovery is great, it is also a step-by-step process that students go through as they are growing up. I try to lead by example in the classroom as well as outside the classroom, emphasizing that learning comes more often by doing, and less often by observing.
How do you reach students?
I am too old to be “cool” so I must relate to students on a different level than through the “coolness” factor. I begin on the first day of class by talking about futures - their future, not mine - so that the learning of math becomes something that they can relate to what they want out of life. I try to make this concept of “investment” easier to grasp by relating what we learn to what is going on in the world. God gives gifts to everyone, the deserving and the undeserving and my goal throughout a year is for students to be able to understand better that their own goals are part of their gifts.