Arlie Davey Wells has been a nuclear chemist, radiological safety manager, radiological controls technician, and an instructor at a Navy nuclear power training facility.
But for the last ten years, Mr. Wells has been an instructor for PCG Education. His interest in becoming an instructor began after years of substituting and the opportunity to take over a video production class mid-way through the school year at his local high school. Having experience in video production, Mr. Wells took the position for about three months and found that he enjoyed the work. He considered becoming a certified teacher, but did not want to begin another career, so he soon investigated options to become a tutor or instructor. Within about two weeks of applying to PCG Education, Mr. Wells was working as a math tutor at another local high school.
Mr. Wells spent four school years working at high schools tutoring algebra and geometry and participated in one elementary after-school program. Following these years, he truly began his new career as a seventh and eighth grade math teacher at Bayside Middle School, part of Virginia Beach City Public Schools. He assesses students in various ways and uses that information to remediate students individually or as a class. He gives very few quizzes or tests, as he believes there are easier ways to determine a student’s strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, he makes sure to ask his students for feedback on his teaching and normally receives good advice!
It is evident that Mr. Wells wants nothing but to see his students succeed. His dedication to his students goes above and beyond. He tries varied techniques during the fifty-minute class to keep the students’ focus and spends his own time searching the Internet for different methods. He asks for and receives feedback from class observers, while also working closely with the school’s math coordinator to ensure his methods compliment those being used in other math classes.
Mr. Wells puts a huge focus on the personalized needs of each child he has the privilege to teach. “I also differentiate my teaching by using multiple tools,” Mr. Wells explains. “I conduct one on one discussions with students after reviewing their work, use software that creates individualized assignments based on testing results, make multiple assignments for the same class based on individual need, and utilize the “Your Teacher” app for targeted remediation. Students can work through a math tutorial and practice without interruption from the rest of the class using many of these tools.”
When asked what Mr. Wells loves about being an instructor, he had too many reasons to count. He narrowed it down to six favorite moments of being a teacher.
“I enjoy the look on a student’s face when he or she achieved an ‘A’ on a test, especially when this student has never even received a ‘B’ before. It is an amazing sight when students bring in homework, quizzes, and tests, and put them up on the ‘Show Me Something Good’ board, or when students are lined up to show me their progress reports because they are proud of what they have accomplished. I love a room full of noisy students who are noisy because they are communicating about a math problem or students who tell me they can’t and then go on to do. Finally, I get to hear my wife tell me she envies me being able to do something I love that helps so many. My wife, who worked with me in the nuclear field, came to one of my classes. Having not seen me in a classroom before, she told me she did not know who I was. She had never seen me so happy.”
Specifically, Mr. Wells states he enjoys being a PCG Education instructor at Bayside Middle School because, “I am treated as a respected member of the school staff and I’m given total latitude in the manner with which I perform my job. I have four classes of ten students each, two seventh grade classes and two eighth grade classes. This is an effective model for middle school math remediation.”
Lastly, when asked how an observer would know that he enjoys teaching children, Mr. Wells took to his students for the answer. They claim Mr. Wells is never stressed out and is always having fun. He creates lessons that are relevant to their lives and pulls his students out of their comfort zones to challenge them to do better.
Mr. Wells has been at Bayside Middle School for six years. When he came to Bayside Middle School, less than 50% of the students were passing their Math Standards of Learning (SOL) exams. Last year, 100% of his eighth grade students passed their Math SOL, while 80% of his seventh grade students passed their Math SOL.
According to Mr. Wells, “The most important thing that students can learn in the classroom is self-confidence and an internalized belief that they can achieve. That’s what I teach. The math is the vehicle.”
PCG Education would like to thank Mr. Davey Wells for his time, commitment, dedication, enthusiasm, and love for his students at Virginia Beach City Public Schools. We are proud to have such spectacular educators to shape the lives of children.
Article written by Summer Tarpley.