KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – He’s known as the “Dean of Fun.”
Mac Comer is a kindergarten teacher at Christenberry Elementary School in Knox County.
He’s found a way to energize not only his students but the entire school.
We watched as he taught the alphabet through song, guitar in hand.
Comer actively involves his students by immersing himself in the lesson at hand.
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Spark love learning
“So kindergarten, ” Comer says, “is really where you can spark that love of learning and just loving school in general.”
Learning to read is a requirement for kindergarten in Knox County. It used to be first grade.
The self-described “Dean of Fun” showed his control of the classroom, making sure each child had a book in hand ready to increase their reading time.
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The environment is designed to make students feel welcomed and safe.
There’s a method to fun approach
Don’t be fooled by the fun, however. It’s all part of a method behind Comer’s approach to early childhood education.
“Just anything I can do to keep the kids interested and engaged and hopefully having fun and learning at the same time,” Comer says.
Principal Melissa Johnson says, “he is very fun with his children and engaging with his children but it’s all business when it comes to learning, reading and writing and math.”
We actually learned about the “Dean of Fun” when we saw his posts on Twitter.
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About social media, he says: “It’s my way of reaching out and saying ‘hey, I know you’re not in my classroom but welcome to my classroom’ so , in the digital age we live in nowadays, you’re able to see what we’re doing, maybe it’s sparking some ideas that other teachers could use in their classroom because I know I definitely do not come up with all of my ideas by myself.”
Keeping it fresh and exciting
“With Mac, ” says assistant principal Tonya Cash, “you never know what you’re going to get and sometimes that’s a great thing because oftentimes we get in a rut and we just kind of get our routines, so he always keeps things fresh and exciting.”
He’s front and center at many a school celebration along with his wife Allison Comer, an art teacher at Christenberry. Both apply fresh new techniques.
“We met teaching at a different school here in Knox County and I think I knew that he was kind of funky and a little off the wall and creative and was naturally just magnetized to that,” Allison says.
True to his innovative style, the “Dean of Fun” begins each day with a disco party.
“I usually try to do like a disco party or something fun to lure the kids in so literally they’re like running through the door, like pounding on the door trying to get into the classroom and that’s what I’m trying to do here.”
Thanks, Mac Comer, for using fun to establish a firm foundation for a lifetime of learning.
If you’re interested in sponsoring a “Dean of Fun” kindergarten-wide party or program at Christenberry, contact the school at (865) 594-8500. Comer is looking for people to help provide snow cones, bounce houses, any type of resource that would be fun for five-year-olds.
Also, look for Comer performing at Visit Knoxville as part of the WDVX Kidstuff program. Check out www.wdvx.com for a schedule.