COLUMBUS, Ga. – As the new school year begins, there’s no better time to focus our News 3 Neighbors spotlight on a teacher who has won national acclaim for his creativity in the classroom.
Andrew Hendley Jr. believes in getting down on his student’s level.. literally. He’s an enrichment teacher at the TSYS Learning Center where he worked for five years. Monday afternoon Andrew was teaching Pre-K students about wind.
“What comes out of your mouth? Try it. Moving air… That’s all wind is,” said Hendley.
Neddy Smith is the Director of the TSYS Learning Center. She never ceases to be amazed at how well Andrew connects with the children.
“Initially we just hired him on as our music teacher. And that evolved tremendously into…now he also does STEM which is science, technology, engineering and math,” said Smith.
“What would happen…air…if you had to spread out? Spread out. That’s what makes wind, as the air spreads out,” said Hendley.
Andrew creatively used a fan and a large tube to vividly demonstrate wind movement.
“Now let’s do our experiment. Let’s see if it works. I’m going to turn the wind on, and I’m going to put the scarf in this time. Ready?” said Hendley.
“He is always willing to go that extra mile, to challenge them just a little bit more. Not just to rely on…oh, they’re 3, they’re 4, there’s no way they’re going to understand this concept. No, for him he says…let’s try it. Let’s see how much they understand. And if they do, let’s take it to the next level,” said Smith.
Andrew kept the kids’ attention by weaving wind instruments into the lesson.
“So as I blow the air across, the wind makes noise,” said Hendley. “Music can be incorporated in anything. Sing, even if you don’t think you’re such a great singer, sing. It’s part of the human experience. Incorporate that into what you teach.”
Andrew has a knack for knowing how to relate to his students.
“He definitely goes to that place where there’s that inner child, which is very important when you work with young children to find that,” said Smith.
Andrew is convinced that passion is a critical key to what he does.
“Never stop learning yourself and always take what you’re passionate about and bring it into the classroom and bring it to them, because kids can tell if you are into it or not,” said Hendley.