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Lancaster teacher uses costumes to engage students, seeing big difference in grades

Published: Oct. 22, 2021 at 4:36 PM EDT
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LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) - It has been another hard school year for students as we started the third school year in a COVID-19 pandemic.

That is why one Lancaster teacher is dipping into his closet to make his class a bit more fun and engaging.

Costumes usually belong at a theater, or during Halloween, but what about in the classrooms?

One Lancaster teacher is using dress-up as a fun way to keep her students engaged.

”I wanted to give the kids that dark kind of feeling,” said CT Kirk, explaining the medieval costume he had on Friday. ”I try to get an outfit that goes with each and every unit that we’re talking about.”

Every week, Kirk’s four social studies classes at South Middle School in Lancaster get treated to a different costume.

From kings and pharaohs to Spanish explorers, he has his students covered.

”This is a tough year with COVID and teacher shortages so I wanted to do this to bring life to my classroom and see if it can make it fun and engaging as well,” said Kirk.

It is easy to set the curve of the class when students start out with a laugh, but it is doing much more than that.

”They start asking questions and that’s what we want to do as Social Studies teachers,” Kirk said. “We want to get them to inquire about certain things and be able to research.”

It is a difference reflected in the numbers too.

Kirk said none of his students have below a B average since he started the social studies ensembles.

”You got to teach kids like you love them because you could be the difference between them going to jail, them going to gangs, them selling drugs,” Kirk said.

As the students continue to enjoy the grade A costumes, Kirk said he is going to keep taking them on this historical journey as long as he can.

”I believe that teachers are those doorways to life. It’s one of the most important professions that we have. I want to be able to inspire other young men and other young women you can do great things in life in a positive way,” said Kirk.

Kirk is using his own money and bonus checks to fund his costume stash.

If anyone would like to donate to help him continue, Cashapp is $higherT.

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