The GPS Blog
Made by Teachers: I want our students to know they are limitless
With Justin Bardowski, Instructor at BPM Education Center in Green Bay, WI
In many ways, teaching is the single, most important profession. GPS instructors are no different, working hard to teach core subjects alongside career skills and life lessons. In this series, we want you to get to know these important individuals who put so much time and dedication into their classrooms and into their students. Meet the teachers who are making students that succeed in their education and in their technical careers.
On paper, Justin may seem intimidating. He’s served his country in Afghanistan as an infantry soldier with U.S. and eventually provide private security detail as well. But in real life, he just cares about his students.
Before joining the army, he was a teacher in Michigan, and, after five years of service in the military, he became a teacher in Marinette, Wisconsin. He returned to Afghanistan shortly thereafter.
“My approach to teaching isn’t a big secret. It’s just to care about the kids. If you care about them, they can tell. And it’s reciprocal. If you don’t really care about them, they can tell and they won’t care about you or about school. But when you truly care about them as individuals, care about their success, care about their personal lives -- they’ll care about you in return,” he explained.
He was overseas when he heard about an opportunity to return to teaching. One of his former students, who went through the GPS program, emailed Justin and told him about an opening as an instructor.
“He talked about his experience with the program, thought I’d be a great teacher. I’m really indebted to him,” Justin said.
These days, Justin is teaching students through GPS Education Partners where he says students are not crammed into the same box: sit in a desk, raise your hand, put some letter grade on a paper. “We are here to help a student be the best version of themselves – which is a much higher standard than the cookie-cutter standard.”
It allows him to really care about his students and teach them -- beyond their youth apprenticeships, beyond their provided curriculum, and beyond their work-based learning experiences.
“I want every student to know that they are limitless. There is nothing they can’t do. There is no dream too big and they can go as far as they want to go in this life,” he said.