Tom Tolliver Uses Food & Fun To Engage His Students

Tom Tolliver didn’t know he wanted to be a teacher until after he became a father.  As a new dad, Tolliver discovered a love for teaching.  So, 23-years ago, he made a career out of it.  "This is where I feel like I can do best and most good."

Tolliver draws on his experience as a father to keep his students interested.  "I try to teach the students the same way I would want my daughters to be taught.  I try to make connections with them and learn what’s important to them."

One of the ways he does this is through food.  Since everybody eats and has a favorite dish, food creates a common bond.  Student William Roper says "he talks about corn bread a lot."

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Students also like his lighthearted nature.  Sebastian Tomsic says "he always makes us happy with his jokes and makes us laugh."  Gerianny Romero says "if we do something right he dances around, and that’s pretty funny."

Tolliver says the fun and games lead to learning.  Many in his third grade class can already write their names in cursive, and research topics using technology.  "After they do their research then they’re going to do a power point and they’ve really enjoyed learning different habitats in Georgia and different animals that they’ve found."
Tolliver also sneaks little nuggets of knowledge into places students wouldn’t suspect, like turning the daily calendar into a fraction.  "I’ve found that if I can do little things like that all year long then by the time they leave it makes a better impression."

Tolliver says its his job to make students understand they are intelligent and can teach others.

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