I teach Digital and Interactive Media for a class at John H. Reagan High School in Houston Texas. Motivation is probably the biggest deficit at our school.  Our kids come from really poor situations, gang infested neighborhoods where the sound of a gunshot doesn’t even phase them.  It isn’t easy to get them motivated to do anything.

My friend Dawn Carroll was telling me about her mentoring project, the Over My Shoulder Foundation. She asked me, what could I do for National Mentoring Month.  What could I do to make a difference?  Huh?  Make a difference?  I’m a teacher.  I thought all I had to do was show up to make a difference.

She told me she needed a logo for her concept of “Mentorology”, (motivating others through mentoring is mentorology) .  Her assignment was:  “Ask the kids to come up with dazzling, cool ideas; the logo has to “glam” up the mentoring mission.”  I suddenly realized my motivation had been missing, too.  Dawn and I decided to set up a logo contest for my class. When I introduced this to my students I was really excited about it and they could tell. No one was wondering why my laid back self was so excited, they just listened. When I was done talking….something special had happened.  I saw kids that hadn’t done anything all year take charge and kick butt on this little project.

Jesse is what I refer to as a flat liner.  Jesse has been in my class all year, and  has attempted to do maybe one or two assignments.

The day I announced the logo contest, I had to replace Jesse’s computer with a brand new computer.  I’m thinking. “There’s  no way I should waste this new computer and let any flat liners sit there.”  After I went over the assignment, there was Jesse, browsing the internet. I didn’t pay attention to what he was looking at.  I told Jesse “You should really try this assignment. If the Foundation likes your logo, they will use it and you could be known.” Jesse replied back that he was researching his logo, since he didn’t have the software yet. I’m thinking, all he is doing is trying to watch rap videos on the computer.  I was too busy with other students to address this.

The next day there was Jesse, working on the logo.  I gave it a closer look and it was looking pretty good; actually it was looking better than most I had seen.  Jesse had a few questions, and when I tried to show him what to do he almost got mad.  He only wanted a little guidance. He would not let me touch the mouse.  This is one of those teaching moments that remind you why you are a teacher. Jesse was taking ownership in this assignment.  He was going to do it, and no one could take any ownership over his logo.

This whole project has changed my teaching outlook.  After teaching for so many years it gets routine.  I know I had lost the enthusiasm I am capable of to get my students interested, but this little project has brought that back.  This logo project has started a graphic arts club, with kids flocking to join it.

Now I’m trying to get graphic companies to get involved in our co-op program so these kids can get a job with a graphic company, instead of the typical clerical job that most students get.  I’m thinking about my students more, coming up with interesting assignments, and thinking about cool things to do in our class.

Wait a minute…no, it couldn’t be! Teaching is fun again.  This is one of those unique experiences where you think you are being a mentor but end up becoming the mentee – and my students have inspired me.

Working on this project has helped my students get motivated.  It has brought out talents they didn’t know they had, and has recharged my passion for teaching.  It’s amazing the power and influence one little logo can have.  This is “MENTOROLOGY”

David Messina
Multi Media Teacher at John H Reagan High School in Houston Texas

\”Final Logo on YouTube\” <—– click here

David Messina is a Career and Technology teacher at John H. Reagan High School in Houston, TX.  David has been a high school teacher for eleven years all at Reagan High School. He got involved with the Over My Shoulder Foundation by a chance reconnection with childhood friend Dawn Carroll.  Dawn told David about the foundation and David thought this mentoring project would tie in to his classes that were focusing on graphic arts.

About admin

No Comments

Be the first to start a conversation

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)