Timothy Dove

Teacher of the Year 2012 - Ohio


”Play What Happens Next.” Always consider how your actions not only affect yourself but others.

As a teacher we have a sacred trust every day with our students. To support, question and invite participation. A look or a gesture can be remembered forever as a positive or negative part of ones life. It is also an important lesson to teach students. Impulsivity can be a great trait in taking positive risks, however it can also be an action or activity that can negatively impact themselves and/or others.


“Don’t Be a Karen.” A young lady who would always decide the relative worth of people or experiences solely on limited experiences.

Too often people use limited experiences to limit themselves to new opportunities. It is important to keep an open mind and take advantage of every day. Students (and staff) hear the same vocabulary ie. research, group work, collaboration and too often students imagine previous (usually) negative experiences. To fully take advantage of classes, colleagues, professional development, and other students, an individual needs to be open to the new situation and judge it on its own merit.


Kids are logical and smart.

My job is to discover their ideas of how to make sense of the world, and be another adult in their life to help them navigate what works. Remember that all students are logical and smart (problem solvers). Too often adults are so blinded by their own agenda, we tend to forget students are doing the best they can at any given time. Our job is to find out how to redirect ideas and participation (or lack thereof) to guide a student into a positive move forward.


“Play Stop the Bus.” Too often we believe we need to get from point A to point B. Often times the fun, fascination and learning comes from stopping at other ideas and places along the way.

When teachers or parents are pressed for time, we usually fall into the trap of “telling” more than eliciting conversation, thought and learning. Near the end of any school year or times of “pressure” (ie. weeks before high stakes testing) we create a teacher-centered experience versus a student-centered one. By being aware of this fact, we can re-emphasize student learning through discovery rather than move to a limited rote/lecture experience. As a parent I remember taking my child to the zoo at age 10. We went to the aquarium and they had a “touch pool.” I hung back to watch my daughter discover many things about the contents of the pool − watching, listening, and engaging with the marine life. Then I also noticed how other parents were rushing their kids through the experience so they could “cover” the entire zoo in an afternoon. I decided to let her stay until she asked to move on. We were there for the better part of an hour and roughly twelve “rotations of children”. By the end, she was helping others with understanding what they were examining. It was a highlight of our day. We did not see the “whole” zoo  that day. But was that the point?


Learn to be aware but not afraid.

When travelling to new places we need to help students be aware but not afraid. Whether the “travelling” is in classroom discussion or visiting another region of the USA or another country, too often children have few coping skills regarding what to do outside their comfort zone. As teachers we need to help move kids in and out of that zone and to value personal and group reflection to learn.

The views expressed on this site are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Pearson Foundation.


Tim Dove is a social studies and technology teacher at Phoenix Middle School and helped design and launch the Phoenix Middle School website. He has taught for 32 years in Worthington, Ohio.

Tim has worked with Ohio State since 1983 as the Freshman Early Experience coordinator and cooperating teacher. He has also been a Field Professor for Secondary Social Studies Methods courses since 1992. He has worked with the Mershon Center, OSU and CIVITAS to create curriculum and teaching seminars in Poland, Ukraine, Russia and Morocco since 1994.

Tim has authored, co-authored and edited numerous books, papers and articles regarding teaching methodologies, global education and the use of technology. The latest being the chapter “Globally Connected Social Studies: Making it Real, Making it Relevant” in Technology in Retrospect: Social Studies Place in the Information Age (2011).

He has advised study tours since 1995, taking over 500 students overseas to 20 different countries and over 350 students for a regional experience.  He has presented a variety of subjects over the years locally, nationally and internationally.

Tim is recognized by many groups as an effective educator. A few examples are: the Columbus Council of World Affairs International Teacher of the Year, the Ohio Council for the Social Studies Middle School Teacher of the Year, the Anderson Award and the Career Educator Awards from the OSU College of Education, and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation Master Teacher Award.

He sees himself as a team player and always interested in collaboration to help students see how the world works. One of his colleagues described him this way:
“It occurred to me that his love for jazz is a perfect metaphor for his teaching. I began to think about all the ways a jazz musician makes “magic” happen - composing, risk-taking, collaborating, improvising and, most importantly, celebrating the music for its own sake . . . Very simply, he is about the work of celebrating human potential, just as a jazz player is about celebrating the music. Those of us who are playing along with him – both students and colleagues – are all the richer for it.”

Tim Dove is a product of Ohio Schools, Western Hills and Wyoming Schools (Cincinnati), and Washington Court House Schools. He earned his undergraduate degree from Miami University, his Masters in Curriculum and Instructional Design from the Ohio State University and is a doctoral candidate in global education, technology and teacher education, also at OSU.