Destinie Brunson: Making it a priority to have a positive connection with students
Updated: Apr 14
Math teacher Destinie Brunson of Meyer Elementary is an educator who knows engagement and positivity can go a long way towards the success of her students.
Destinie Brunson got into teaching in the first place because it allowed her to change, inspire, and make a difference in student lives. “I know this is what I was called to do,” she said. “Teaching is the most rewarding job there is.”
For her, strong relationships with her students are an essential part of making this positive impact. This is why she always prioritizes building them in the classroom. She also said that it feels like the right thing to do as an educator. “I believe that students learn best from someone they know cares about them,” she said.
Holding up her side of the bargain in these relationships means growing outside the classroom. “I am always looking for ways to make my teaching better for my students,” she said. “Whether it’s learning about more math engaging activities/games, small group instruction, data diggings, or math instruction, I am always looking to grow.”
Destinie does a couple noteworthy things in her class to try to drive her students towards academic excellence. One of these is thoroughly monitoring student progress by walking around her classroom and using variations of assessments such as direct tests, exit quizzes and classroom tests to help her collect data. By doing this, she is able to root out misconceptions as they are happening and prevent larger scale mistakes. “This allows me to give high quality and immediate feedback to my scholars to assist them with the objective,” Destinie said.
This vigilance in the classroom also allows Destinie to implement small group instruction should any of her students need a more personalized approach. “Small group instruction, for me, is everything,” she said. “It’s how I target those students in critical need of improvement.”
It starts with a deep dive into the data and culminates in a focused effort to address whatever stands in the way of success. Prior to teaching, she didn’t realize how helpful it would be in her own classroom. “I remember being in college and hearing my professor talk about how small group instruction was needed, but I never knew until I started teaching,” she said.
Destinie also opts for a more personalized approach when it comes to decorating her classroom. Elephants, tons of elephants, in her class that’s what makes it unique, different.
“I love elephants and elephants mean something special to me, so they are all over the classroom,” she said. “My students love to make a game out of ‘How many elephants do you see in Miss. B’s room?’”
Photos courtesy of Destinie Brunson