Our February honoree is a teacher at Providence St. Mel high school in Chicago. He’s a mathematics instructor, but it’s not all formulas and calculations in his classroom. And some of his best lessons aren’t found in a text book.
Eric Hendricks, Teacher of the Month: “It’s just a deep passion rooted in past experiences, rooted in the conditions and the plight of our community. A lot of feelings that you have as an adult, as a man, that you desire to see better, and you have an opportunity to work with hundreds of young people, talk to hundreds of young people on a daily basis, and you feel you can share life experiences.”
Eric Hendricks’ students really like him.
Hendricks: “I respect them. They respect me, and I think that’s why I’m able to communicate to them so openly and so freely and get so much shared.”
Miya Taylor, student: “The biggest thing that stands out about Mr. Hendricks is that he doesn’t give up. He’s going to be persistent, and he’s going to help you. Like I stated in the letter, he’s going to spend time with you. It’s kind of like you can’t fail with Mr. Hendricks because he’s going to be there to help you. When I initially started pre-calculus, it was rough, it was like a struggle. But when he talked to me and my mother at parent conferences, he basically laid out a plan for us about how I could study, what I could study and methods that I could use to help me get the material.”
Jalen Garrison, student: “He breaks it down really well. We’ve actually just started learning some pre-calculus topics, and I think it’s really interesting. It gets hard at times to understand certain things but the way he explains things makes it easier.”
Hendricks’ students say he begins each class period by telling them to dominate.
Cristopher Jackson, student: “He’s saying that in life you have a lot to do and not that much time to do it so let’s get straight to business. Let’s get things done while we can.”
Cristopher says when he first came to Mr. Hendricks’ class he was overwhelmed, and he planned to just sit in the class and not participate.
Cristopher Jackson: “He told me that was not going to happen in his class. He told me that if I have a question in his class, I must raise my hand or I‘m not dominating.”
Hendricks: “When you triumph over the obstacle, I call that dominating. Our goal is to be able to compete at whatever college they end up at and to be successful. We are able to understand that, have fun, enjoy, but always remember the bottom line. And the students have responded, and they rise to the expectations.”
And speaking of expectations …
Hendricks: “You know we all want to be the best at what we do. We want to impact somebody, so the fact that they would write a letter and share how something I did or said had influenced them in a positive way means a great deal to me.”