Guardsmen whose civilian careers put them in the classroom have an opportunity to instill the Army values into their students – whether overtly or through a more indirect approach.
Those values — loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage —become supportive tools for navigating their military and civilian lives. And one member of the Massachusetts National Guard honors his service in the civilian world through his work as an elementary educator.
Sgt. Zach Yahman, also known as Mr. Zach, is a proud teacher with the stamina, skills, courage and tools from his personal life and university and military careers to thank for it.
Sgt. Yahman is thrilled to follow in the family’s footsteps as a teacher. As I recall our conversations about teaching and learning and from having spent time in his classroom as a volunteer, I’m learning how comfortably he integrates the Army values into his classroom environment.
Classrooms are excellent spaces to expose students to character values, and Mr. Zach’s integration of them is subtle. With no direct reference to the Army values or the military, his students know about and appreciate his dedicated service to the Massachusetts National Guard.
Mr. Zach provides examples and opportunities for his students to identify the qualities necessary to become respectful global citizens. This is achieved through carefully crafted words, phrases and lessons introducing students to international affairs.
As his students arrive at school, he is ready to learn alongside them. Throughout their time together, his students observe how he’s open to questions and feedback and receptive to support.
Class meetings, individual conversations and assignments create opportunities for students to be challenged in thoughtful ways. This allows students to better know what success looks and feels like. The active-participant roles and responsibilities he implements have them experience teamwork and help develop personal pride.
A new school year starts with Mr. Zach and his students creating a class covenant. Their ideas are a mutual agreement the class commits to following. The loyalty they have toward themselves and their peers creates a classroom bond that is hard to break.
Incorporating classroom jobs gives students the responsibility of keeping their learning space neat and organized. Each student must complete their assigned duty and work as a collaborative partner.
Posters adorn the walls with references to how respect is commonplace and that everyone should be treated with kindness. Built into classroom activities are opportunities that promote selfless service. With options ranging from supporting food drives and recycling efforts to time set aside to honor veterans, students learn that lending a helping hand is a way of life.
Mr. Zach reminds his students that personal pride is an incredible feeling and that doing their part to improve our nation and the world is an honor.
Mr. Zach also holds his students accountable for their actions. Integrity is highlighted by congratulating students on following class rules and demonstrating kindness. Unity is fostered through recognizing and appreciating similarities than differences. Stressed is the importance of honesty and putting forth one’s best effort. Fist bumps are shared as students march forward with personal courage.
Sgt. Yahman is serving his country and students well. Members of the National Guard and armed forces are individuals to look up to. Their selfless service is commendable, just like that of a teacher.Read comments