SONIC’s Limeades for Learning initiative makes a difference in public schools across the country through the brand’s partnership with nonprofit DonorsChoose, which the SONIC Foundation provides funding throughout the year to in support of public school teachers and the great projects they’re creating in the classroom. To share their innovative approaches to education, we’re spotlighting an educator each month to show the different ways they’re enriching their schools and communities.
Peter Ouzts is a third grade teacher who has spent the past five years teaching in Roy, Utah. For him, teaching is engrained in both his professional and personal life – in fact, both his wife and brother are teachers. But Peter was first inspired to become a teacher much earlier. “I grew up with two aunts who helped me appreciate the learning process. They taught elementary school, and they were always so willing to share their knowledge with others.”
As a teacher, Peter is always looking for ways to encourage students to get out of their comfort zone. “I do have a tendency of putting them on the spot,” he admits, sharing that part of the process is fostering an environment of positive feedback and support. “Their peers are always there, supportive and helpful to ‘think, pair, share’ and discuss in a group.”
Peter believes the same strategy can be applied to teachers. “Don’t be afraid to reach out and utilize more of the great resources available to help your classroom,” says Peter, whether that’s through local connections or online. Peter says he’s a great example of this, as building relationships with other teachers has benefitted his own development. “My relationships have helped me brainstorm ways to help my students and navigate many difficult situations.”
Another great resource example is DonorsChoose. “I encourage any teacher trying to expand opportunities in their classroom to seek support from community groups like DonorsChoose,” says Peter. “My first project was for something as simple as test dividers. Currently, myself and many of my peers are looking for things like flexible seating, new books to read, headsets, 3D printer filament, and new science opportunities.”
This story is part of an ongoing series.