At Peekapak, we celebrate educators. These amazing, passionate, and dedicated individuals bring joy to learning every day. We’ve been incredibly lucky to have a special group of educators supporting our growth – The Peekapals: Our Peekapak Ambassadors! Our Meet the Peekapals series showcases their personal achievements, thoughts on education and SEL, and more.
Peekapal: Paul Solarz
Paul is an uncle, 5th-grade teacher, and the author of “Learn Like a PIRATE.” He loves to cook, travel, and watch sports on TV. Paul is passionate about making learning fun and relevant to his students, and spreading great teaching ideas over Twitter!
PEEKAPAK: Tell us about what you are most proud of accomplishing while working in education?
PAUL SOLARZ: I’m most proud of the relationships that I’ve built with each of my students over the years. When they come back to visit, I’m immediately reminded of the great time we’ve had learning together and am honoured they would take time out of their busy lives to chat with me!
P: What do you find most challenging about teaching? Most rewarding?
PS: Pleasing all of the people, all of the time is the most challenging aspect of teaching! And obviously, it can’t be done! Therefore, I try my best to please my STUDENTS nearly all of the time, and not worry about anyone else. After all, they’re the ones I’m trying to make the biggest impact with.
P: In your opinion, what is the importance of social-emotional learning (SEL)?
PS: I’m a STRONG believer that social-emotional lessons and reminders are the most important aspect of our 5th-grade classroom. Life lessons and guidance on how to treat others improve our classroom culture and each of our relationships. Since collaboration is so important in our classroom, the better we work together, the more likely we are to learn!
P: What do you envision for the future of education and how do you suggest we get there?
PS: I believe that students need to be empowered to make decisions freely, not fear making mistakes, and respond positively to constructive teacher and peer feedback. Classrooms should look more like 21st-century businesses where everyone is working together and helping each other accomplish tasks. Individual accountability is important, but it shouldn’t be the reason teachers avoid creating a collaborative classroom community! When students learn to think for themselves, be aware of others needing help, and anticipate potential problems, they’ll be better prepared to be successful in the world we live in!
Are you an elementary educator or leader interested in becoming a Peekapak Ambassador? If so, please read and fill out this form.