Andre DeKok on teaching & coaching (pt. 2 of 2)
In the first installment of our profile on BMHS Biology teacher Andre DeKok, we focused on the story of how and why he ended up in Beloit to teach. Here, he discusses his motivations and philosophies as an educator and coach.
For His Students
Thinking about his classroom, DeKok begins, “I have specifically spent most of my time teaching biological sciences even though I have a Broadfield Science license. I focus most of my time on anatomy and I point out to my students that my class is so important because they are learning about the body. All of us will, at some time, have to go to the doctor for some type of medical treatment. I go over general body systems to help my students become wiser consumers of health care and provide them usable information to keep their bodies as healthy as they desire. I do take pride when my students tell me about their careers in medicine or how they truly appreciated my class and it sparked them to go into a scientific pathway.
“In order to be successful in my classes,” he continues, “the best thing to have is a great attitude and a willingness to be a life-long learner. Having great attendance helps to stay up on your studies. Even though I have taught for over twenty-five years, I still learn new things about the body, and new discoveries about the body are always happening. Anatomy is a nice balance, knowledge about structure for hundreds of years and new discoveries about physiology all the time.
For His Parents
“My advice to parents is to be involved and stay vigilant. If they aren’t willing to care for their children there are all sorts of negative influences out there that will. Ask the questions, no matter how they complain, “Who’s gonna be there?” “Is a parent there?” “Give me their number!” I would also advise parents to have the “talks” with their kids about adult issues like sex, alcohol and drugs. Better to be awkward than have situations occur or be arrested, or worse yet, killed!”
Extending the Classroom, Coaching
Turning to his coaching contributions, DeKok says, “I have been coaching my entire teaching career and coaching is one of the main reasons I wanted to teach. I was a volleyball player and swimmer who also ran track one year and played tennis as a senior. My real love was swimming and volleyball. Imagine my disappointment when the boys volleyball program was cut after my sophomore year due to budget shortfalls.
“When the position arose at Memorial to coach boys, I was asked to take the position and have led the program ever since. To me, athletics is an extension of the classroom. Lessons in life are always being taught on the court. Working together, working hard and sacrifice are daily servings on my teams. I have always made it a point to stress academics come first, always. I try to stress to my athletes I want them to contribute to the world beyond high school. How have they left their mark? Being on a team allows them to feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves, and they play an integral part in the success of the whole.
Further, he says, “I also believe I am working with developing minds and they need to be taught and still make mistakes. Heck, I still make the same mistakes! I try to save the perfectionism for Jesus and allow the rest of us to be human as much as possible. Some people need to be able to be allowed to miss the mark several times until they get it right…. as long as we get it right in time!
“In closing, I have been so blessed to be welcomed into the Beloit community for the past 27 years. I am completely at home here. There are so many reasons for me to be Beloit Proud!”
(pt. 1 of 2 yesterday)
- BMHS Language Arts Teacher Daryl Saladar (pt. 1, pt. 2)
- BMHS History Teacher Gary Stuedeman
- BMHS Political Science Teacher James Hoey
- BMHS Reading Specialist Deb Brossard
- Converse Reading Specialist Kathie Horvath
- McNeel Art Teacher Jessica Skinner