Josh Yother knows he can't reach his 5th grade class if they come to school cold and hungry. "It's a big motivating effect for a lot of kids, being able to come to school with new shoes and new pants and shirts and stuff and it seems to be having a big impact in the classroom."
Yother started handing out clothes and food to underprivileged children in 1999 with Coat of Many Colors. It was with that non-profit organization that he realized he needed to become a teacher. "And seeing the impact that those clothes and the food actually had on the kids, the impact of academic achievement and the test scores, really made me start thinking that if clothes and some shoes and food could do that do to a child, what about a passionate person?"
In the classroom, Yother uses real world applications to keep students interested. For example, when he teaches fractions, he talks about how to tip in a restaurant. He's also a bit of a performer, standing on desks to get his point across.
Student Adam Miller says "he has a different way, he has his own method. It's a really fun method cause he jumps around. He has fun." Students say Yother's approach to the whole student, and not just the mind, works. Taylor Culpepper says his grades have gone up. "They were like D's and now they've gone up to B's and A's and C's."
Yother says "God didn't make any kids that aren't special. All kids are special. Some live in not so special circumstances or live in not so special situations, but they're all special." He just wants to level the playing field for students, giving every child in his classroom an equal opportunity to succeed.
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