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Take 5 with Touro’s Timothy Bellavia

Learning Successfully: Be Willing to Try, Make Mistakes and Try Again

December 23, 2016
Prof. Timothy Bellavia
Prof. Timothy Bellavia

He is also a popular children’s author and illustrator. Professor Bellavia shares what he loves about teaching and offers advice on being a successful student. Learn more.

You seemed to be very engaged with your students. What do you think makes a good teacher?
That’s a tough question; I sense from my perspective that being engaging is aligned with caring. A good teacher cares about what they are doing and to whom they are teaching. 

A lot of your work focuses on the theme of we're all the same. This is an important message as bullying has become a big issue. How do you feel students can work together and treat each other with respect?
At this point and time my work and we’re all the same focus has been a 16 and a half year journey. It’s pretty simple in its concept. If we realize that we all want to have a sense of belonging we can work together; despite our differences be it external or spiritual.

What would you say is the key to being a successful student?
To be successful at anything one has to be willing to try and make mistakes. If you fail, get right back up. Try again.  I’m a believer in persistence and I can say patience as well. 

What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
The rewarding aspect of my job is seeing growth from the teaching candidates at their start of the GSE program to their completion. The affirmations I get through their appreciation upon passing their rigorous NYSED certification exams, the countless emails of arts education strategies I shared in the methods courses that worked for their learners to the cheers I get during commencement. 

What advice do you have for students?
The advice I give my students every semester is to know their worth and that getting this teacher license is an inspiring career that can take you around the planet and back.  Don’t limit yourself, never stop inspiring and engaging with your students.