The Sky’s the Limit

Cearra Jones, with our Training Team, shares how a challenging student reminded her that "the sky's the limit" for learners - and teachers can guide the way.

by Cearra A. Jones, Ed.S.

As a student, coming from generations of educators, I though I had no option but to do everything the traditional education system told me to do. Don’t ask why, do every assignment, study for tests, the list goes on and on. My mom always told me to remember “sky’s the limit” for my future. But after awhile I began to wonder if there was really only one way to reach the sky. 

When I became a math teacher, I told myself I would never teach in that traditional way. Instead, I was going to find every activity and strategy I could to create a win-win space for all learners. And that’s when I met Curtis.

We all know a kid like Curtis: the one who comes into your room with a bad reputation, a stack of referrals, and the belief that your class was going to be one more thing for him to fight against. 

As soon as I met him, I knew my job wasn’t just to teach him math but to give him a fresh start, to help him find ways to control his anger and help him identify ways he could express his feelings without destroying property and recreating a cycle of failure.

I wanted to find something he was passionate about and help him focus on that. The first step for Curtis was writing things down. If an event triggered him, we wrote it down. When he was upset or angry, we wrote about it. But what started as a coping mechanism or a behavior management technique grew into so much more.

Soon, he wasn’t just writing when he was angry, he found that he was passionate about putting words together and his behavior slowly started to change. By the time he graduated, he was writing powerful poetry. In fact, a few years after that, I got a message from him that said he was now a father and was working on publishing a book of poetry. And I love to think I helped show him a way to reach the sky. 

That’s what I love about Empowered. That’s what we’re all about: individualizing learning that helps students understand who they are and all they are capable of accomplishing. Being a part of Empowered’s training team gives me the chance to help teachers transform their classrooms into spaces where they see the best in every student and help them find their full potential. I’m helping them create learning experiences that reinforce that the sky really is the limit while also showcasing there are infinite ways to get there. 


If Cearra’s perspective inspires you, join her in her commitment to making learning real and relevant for all students. You can:

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