From the time he was in elementary school, Shane Todd has enjoyed being in the classroom.
“I was the kid who was always kind of sad when summer vacation came, explained Todd. “My family life was great, but I just really liked school. I loved learning and the curiosity it brings.”
Now a teacher at Scenic Park Elementary School in Anchorage, KTVA’s Teacher of the Week has been an educator in Alaska for 15 years.
“I’m very lucky and fortunate,” said Todd. “I feel like I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
Todd is well known around school for his enthusiastic and booming personality, which resonates with his students.
“He likes to play around with us. He makes jokes,” said fifth-grader Kara Thompson. “He’s really nice and funny, and he likes us to do our best.”
Still, Todd strikes a balance with a bit of strictness.
“There’s fun times. And when we have party times and fun times, I mean I believe in, let’s party, man, let’s have fun,” said Todd. “But when it’s work time, I believe in, let’s work. And I tell the students all the time, ‘Look, the harder we work, the more productive we are, the more fun we have at another time.'”
Students said they appreciate his desire to strike that balance, as they believe he has their best interests in mind.
They also like the fact that he doesn’t give them homework. Instead, Todd encourages his students to read for 30 minutes each day and to research topics they’re interested in. He’ll even give them extra credit for it. He says he wants students to have a natural curiosity for learning that doesn’t feel like a chore.
Academics aside, Todd’s biggest goal is to help his students find out who they really are.
“I want them to leave here with the knowledge of, here are two or three or a dozen things that are special about me, that I am good at, that I can take forward and affect the lives of myself, my family and the world in a better way,” he said.
Know a teacher making a difference in students’ lives? Nominate them for Teacher of the Week.