Fullington strives to make classroom a good environment for all

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 20, 2006

Like the flora and fauna they study in his classes, Randall Fullington’s students come in all shapes, sizes and colors. Their backgrounds are often quite diverse.

The biology and zoology teacher at Greenville High School knows full well the influence an educator can have on his students, no matter where they come from.

Being a positive role model is something Fullington says he thrives on.

The 14-year veteran of the classroom, with the last four spent at GHS, finds the most satisfying part of his job is, simply, &uot;the kids.&uot;

&uot;Whether teachers know it or not, we are a big part of the lives of our students. We can play such a huge role in the development and thought processes of our students,&uot; the teacher says.

Fullington’s dedication to his students led to the science instructor being chosen as the GHS Teacher of the Year, but the Butler County Secondary Teacher of the Year, as well.

Fullington, a graduate of Faulkner University, credits a pair of &uot;very influential teachers&uot; with leading him to choose the same career path.

&uot;They really touched my heart. It was their influence in my life that taught me some very valuable lessons and inspired me to become a teacher.&uot;

The educator says he hopes his students always find a very positive environment inside his classroom.

&uot;I believe when students are comfortable in a classroom and known their teacher cares for their well-being as well as their education, they will be willing to give 100 percent toward that teacher – and that is when learning occurs,&uot; Fullington says.

Along with his classroom duties, Fullington is also sponsor for the Robotics Club and is currently involved in a two-year 21st Century Fellowship with the Alabama Best Practices Center. He belongs to several professional teacher organizations.

Fullington has also served as one of the high school’s athletic coaches in past seasons.

Of course, time – and the fact there never seems to be enough of it – is always a challenge for a teacher.

&uot;I am always reading and trying to find better ways to teach and better instructional strategies and technologies to bring to my students. Add that together with the time spent preparing lessons – and the never-ending stack of papers to grade – and you get a huge investment in time,&uot; the teacher admits.

Still, Fullington says, a supportive administration like the one at GHS can make a big difference for teachers.

&uot;The administration is very supportive of all my ideas and efforts. Our administration offers support for professional growth as well as being open to different ideas and suggestions.&uot;

What makes a good secondary school teacher?

&uot;In my opinion, the most valuable asset a secondary school teacher should have is patience and perseverance, followed by a giving spirit,&uot; Fullington says. &uot;Students come to us from homes that are very different in backgrounds, socioeconomic levels and living conditions…we have to be understanding and sensitive to their needs.&uot;

For anyone out there contemplating a career in teaching, Fullington has this advice: &uot;Be flexible. Be open to new ideas and teaching strategies. Always pursue professional growth.&uot;

This family man, husband of Dawn and dad to four-year-old Wyatt and nineteen-month-old Garrett, looks forward to spring break.

But he’s also looking forward to new classes on tap for next year, including AP Biology and Forensic Science.

And Fullington hasn’t forgotten to tend to the needs of the smallest classroom residents, including Dora, a two-year-old leopard gecko and classroom mascot. &uot;The kids love her,&uot; he says with a grin.

As for the currently fish-less aquarium in the back of the room, Fullington adds, &uot;I just cleaned out the fish tank and put in more salt water…tomorrow I’m going to go and re-stock it with some new fish. The kids will enjoy it.&uot;