MONETTE, AR (KAIT) - Mr. Scott Petznick, a fourth grade math teacher at Buffalo Island Central West Elementary, was selected as our March Teacher of the Month.
Petznick, a Wisconsin native, has been teaching for 16 years and has spent the last 2 in Monette.
Petznick has a Master's Degree in brain research, which helps him find new ways to help his students retain information.
"One of the things I've instituted into my classroom is a lot of music," Petznick said. "The guitar and things like that help students remember concepts that are difficult and it's been very successful."
Petznick taught science during the last school year and recalled hearing students sing the songs he taught them while they were taking state tests.
"Music is one of those things that will never go away," Petznick said. "You'll always have that tune stuck in your head and if we can put concepts to that, be it math or science, it will really help them when it comes time for tests."
At the end of class, Petznick gathers his students for what he calls "circle time" where he quizzes students on whatever they covered that day to make sure they've retained the information.
If they answer correctly, students are rewarded with a marble.
"They're trying so hard to get them," Petznick said. "I have kids that will come back and tell me 'Mr. Petznick, I still have every marble I got from your classroom that year. It's simple, it's something that's easy, but it helps to motivate them.
It's not always about crunching numbers in Mr. Petznick's class, he said he tries to teach his students important life skills.
"Character is so important to me," Petznick said. "It's teaching them how to function in life and what the expectations are. How to have a job, whatever that job may be in the future, and how they can be a contributing member to society. Another thing is making sure the kids know they can become whatever they want to be."
To help encourage students to be the best they can be, Petznick helped a group of math students prepare for a math competition in Memphis.
"They gave up their recesses because that was the only time we had to practice," Petznick said. "They did an excellent job. The reality is, when we test further on in the year, those scores are going to be a lot higher because they've had all this extra math. We were able to do it in such a fun way that they didn't think it was a big deal."
The students weren't the only ones who sacrificed, Petznick spent time preparing those lessons before and after school, as well as on the weekends.
"When we come to those test taking times, the kids want to do well, not even for themselves but for me," Petznick said. "When they see someone that is giving everything for them, they want to in turn reciprocate that back and that's that character we talk about."
Petznick recalled several of his teachers that positively impacted his life and said he hopes to be that teacher for his students.
"I'm thankful that God gave me that opportunity to do that," Petznick said. "If they can walk about of this classroom knowing that Mr. Petznick loved them and gave everything he could for them, that's my whole goal."
Copyright 2016 KAIT. All rights reserved.