EOYC

I normally write in this space about education. In a lot of ways, this post fits right in to those other posts. There's a group that I work with called EOYC - that stands for Eastern Orthodox Youth Camps. You can read more about the organization here. If you didn't click the link, the 20-second recap is that we put on a yearly camp for Orthodox Christian youth, mostly from the midwest (although we've had some friends from the coasts). I went to EOYC for the first time in 1998 when I was 11. I haven't missed a year since.

EOYC celebrated its 50th Anniversary this year. If you know any about the early years of camp - and why would you? - then you're aware what a miracle it is that we made it to our 50th birthday. I could name drop a dozen people, without whom EOYC probably wouldn't have made it through. For you, dear reader, that would likely be quite pointless. You probably didn't know that EOYC was a thing 5 minutes ago!

So a history of EOYC is not what I'm here for. It's a fascinating history and if you want to hear it I can introduce you to a wonderful woman named Stacie. What I'm more interested in is how we teach for the whole person. EOYC is, among other things, a great community to be a part of. I have some of my closest friends in this community and some of my most trusted mentors.

That gets me thinking about my classroom because, well, that's kind of what I do.

Am I anyone's most trusted mentor?

Am I anyone's friend that they can talk to when they are in need?

Am I teaching anything other that history? Than government and civics? Than reading and writing?

These are all important things. I want to teach students about historical trends. I want students to know the branches of government and how they can have an active and effective civic life. I want students to be able to communicate their opinions and feelings through writing and oratory. I want all of these things.

When I think about my EOYC family, I think about the whole person. At EOYC, we are focused on helping our youth become better people. It's deeply challenging and it's incredibly fulfilling. On days (like yesterday) when I come home to my beautiful little daughter and feel like I've done absolutely nothing with my day, I start to ask myself the questions above. And I start to wonder.

It's good to be reminded that we are here to teach the whole person. If kids leave my class having acquired knowledge but not having grown in their sense of how to use that knowledge for good, then I haven't been a successful teacher.

As I continue to figure out how to teach with a new baby, this balance is especially important. I find myself wanting to leave school more quickly when the bell rings. And I don't think that's wrong, but I do think that if I forget care about and spend time on the human element of my students, then I'm more likely to burn out of this career.

And damnit, I have LOVED teaching my first five years. I wrote about balance a little while back, and I think this is just the next step in finding that balance. You parents out there, I'd love some advice!

Thanks for reading this blog! I hope you'll consider taking a moment to comment below and turn this into a conversation. Whether you are an educator or not, we have all had common experiences with education both good and bad. I want to hear what you think! 

About Me:
My name is Alec Chambers. I am a high school history and government teacher at a small, urban public school in Kansas City called Center High School. We regularly kick tail. Among many awards, we were named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2014. I don't just teach at Center- I also graduated from Center in 2006 after attending Center Schools K-12. I have a degree in Political Science, a second degree in International Relations, a third degree in Education and a Master's of Arts in Teaching. I have an unofficial degree is soccer. All of those degrees have led me to the high-paying teaching profession! I have a newborn daughter and am married to the most awesome woman on the planet. Seriously. It's a proven fact.

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