Not Just a Teacher - Tim Coon ’09, ’12 (M.S.)
There isn’t an industry, sector, or profession that hasn’t felt the jolting changes caused by the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus. But, it could be argued that education, in particular, has felt that disruption more than other entities, as teachers, administrators, students, and families experience new models of education. This fall, Collegium is highlighting Fisher alumni educators who are letting their creativity fly in this new educational landscape.
Tim Coon is a self-described Buffalo Bills fanatic. He’ll admit it’s the College hosting the Bills Training Camp each summer that led him to choose Fisher over Nazareth College to complete his undergraduate degree in education. But he’ll quickly add that professors such as Dr. Joellen Maples pushed him to produce the best work he could when he was completing his master’s degree.
A third-generation educator (both his grandmother and mother were teachers), Coon teaches fifth grade math in the Wayne Central School District. His love for the Bills has become a bit of lore at the school, where his classroom is decked out in team paraphernalia and his school ID card hangs from a Buffalo lanyard. Students know that if the Bills win on Sundays, Coon won’t assign homework on Mondays; and last year, they got a whole week off from assignments when the Bills made the playoffs.
That fun-loving, compassionate nature serves him well. Coon teaches general education, but is often also paired with students who benefit from extra social, emotional, and academic support.
“My philosophy is about providing open opportunities for everyone,” he said. “I am about the whole child. Academics are important, but kids need to be reached, nurtured, and brought together. We’re not just teachers. We’re parents, counselors— we’re everything.”
Coon is teaching core concepts in mathematics, delivering some of that instruction virtually and some in-person, while also checking-in daily with a dozen students who have opted to learn fully-remotely. Coon said this year, with Wayne’s hybrid learning model, creating personal connections will be paramount.
“Strong, meaningful relationships with the kids will help them be motivated,” he said. “If they don’t feel that you’re there for them, in their corner, they’re not going to log on. They have to know I am not just their teacher, but I am there for them.”