Sweet Home Middle School Teacher honored for unique approach to classroom

AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – An outstanding Western New York Educator is being recognized for his unique approach to teaching.
Sweet Home Middle School Teacher David Etkin won the “Touchdown for Teachers” award this year.

To keep his kids engaged, in English and Social Studies, Etkin uses social media to keep his students interested in class.
The idea is take make his kids see outside of the four walls of his classroom. The classroom set up is a little unorthodox. There are no desks, here you’ll find a class “family room” with benches and stools. This is where the majority of class takes place.
Students sit at round tables where they’re encouraged to talk about the curriculum, and technology definitely plays a role.
During a lesson on ancient Rome, today, students got a virtual tour of the landscape and how aqueducts were put together. Etkin also showed us his classroom Instagram. He posts photos daily of his students, and writes a weekly blog so parents know what happens in class.
Etkin also recently led his students in raising money for the Ugandan Water Project, and as a class they’ve assembled food for area needy families.

He said, “My goal was to leverage the curriculum to get the kids to think deeper and to push deeper and consider things they may not have before. It’s a big world out there, and so they have some experiences, but there are a lot of things they don’t know. That’s why we get involved in projects together, we raise money together, we volunteer together, because we want to make sure when they come to school, it’s an experience  that they wouldn’t get if they stayed at home.”

6th grade student Adam Korte said, “This classroom is different because we do things for people here and in other countries.I know I have great teachers who support me with what I do.”

M&T Bank and the Buffalo Bills teamed up to recognize one local teacher based on their community involvement and commitment to education.

Etkin won this award out of almost 500 teachers who were nominated across 15 counties. He will now get $2 thousand dollars in grant money for his school, plus the entire middle school will get a visit from a Buffalo Bills player in a couple of weeks.

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