Seeing Who’s Behind the Desks

Power of Teaching lecture on motivating and believing in students

Todd Pennington, from Physical Education Teacher Education within the Department of Teacher Education in the David O. McKay School of Education, spoke on the value of motivating each student and seeing who is behind the desk.

“My teachers saw things in me that I didn’t,” said Pennington. “They came into my life during very critical crossroads I was going through.”

Pennington discussed how his teachers looked beyond his appearance and saw his potential. Teachers must see students for what they can become.

Pennington was diagnosed with two learning disabilities, but that did not stop him from trying to learn. Using her “Believing Approach” his mother tutored him to keep up with his peers. This approach encompassed not treating her son any differently than any other normal student.

Even when his school counselor told Pennington that attending BYU would not be an option, he attended summer school and worked with his mother to catch up with other students. Academically, he was more than three years behind due to his learning disabilities.

However, he still believed he could attend BYU despite the roadblocks he faced. It was his high school coach and teacher who planted the seeds for Pennington to later go into teaching. His coach had the power of belief and he believed in Pennington’s ability to succeed.

What is your story?

Pennington ended his talk with this powerful statement: “Teachers are such an important part in a student’s life—in believing. Students sometimes don’t believe in themselves even when teachers see their capabilities.”

Readers can read the full story of Pennington’s experience in the February 2015 Ensign article here.

Writer: Joann Distler

Contact: Cindy Glad (801) 422-1922

Photo Credit: McKay Creative