The Construction of Adolescence by Nakkula and Toshalis discussed the relationships between youth and the adult influences in their lives, particularly educators. It was very informative. It used several useful vocabulary words to detail the relationships between youth and adults and the influences that they have on each other. Ten vocabulary words from the text are theoretical thinking, tested knowledge, theoretical imagination, construction of adolescence, meeting of the minds, interpsychological development, scaffolding, zone of proximal development, reciprocal transformation, and applied developmentalists.
Looking at my childhood, I would list 10 people who helped me to develop cognitively and personally. The first person would be my mother. She was the only family member who I interacted with on a frequent basis. I would also list the babysitter that I had from 3 to 8 years old. Her name is Karen. She was a friend of my mother's and was like a second family to me as well as her son, Christopher, who I called Tofur. I would also list my best friend, Kane. I will list my grandmother and two aunts even though I saw them infrequently because they lived in another state. I also was certainly influenced by my teachers. Of the teachers who most influenced me, growing up, I would list my first grade teacher, Mrs. Sterling, my second grade teacher, Mrs. Traibush, and my 6th grade teacher, Mr. Whitely.
Mr. Whitely was my favorite teacher in elementary school. He was an unusual teacher. He was 75 years old and every year he would say that it was his last year teaching. Then, he would just show up on the first day of class which was okay. They never brought another teacher in because they always knew he would change his mind at the last minute. This made me realize that he must really love teaching. He used more progressive teaching methods than most of the other teachers. He used to start class with brain teasers every morning. When we learned math, we didn't just learn the traditional requirements. He went into different bases and other intriguing concepts. He would give us difficult puzzles to solve. We sat at tables instead of desks. The tables were arranged in groups, so that we interacted more with other students. He also would rearrange the tables periodically. This not only gave us a class to sit with different students, but gave us a different perspective on the classroom. For some of the top students, he allowed us to be officers and tutors for the rest of the classroom. This allowed him to make use of some extra support from the students, but it also helped the students to help each other and help monitor each other's behavior. I had the opportunity to be one of the officers and tutors. I was gratified by this special attention as I rarely felt special in my classes. His class also played baseball every year against the teachers. They usually won. Our year, we lost. However, it was actually a really good experience for me. I had never played baseball before, so he made me a coach. At the time, I didn't know this was a common technique for players that aren't very good. Still, it made me special just to be involved and, I think, gave me a little more confidence in sports.