“I like the military structure. It provides the young men, the teenagers, with the framework that they need. It helps them develop self-discipline, which is a diminishing commodity. And it teaches respect and certain leadership skills that they may not pick up elsewhere,” said Col. Sedr, a history and government teacher who for the past 25 years has also served as headmaster at FMS.
Sedr is stepping down from that role in the upcoming 2013-2014 academic year to focus on teaching. The Virginia Military Institute alum describes himself as “a traditional teacher.”
“I focus on giving them a good, solid foundation in what they need to know,” said Sedr, whose focus is on building his students’ communication skills, particularly in the area of writing.
“Students in my class do a lot of writing. There are a lot of essay tests and a lot of papers,” Sedr said. “I also focus on critical thinking, with a lot of work in primary sources. The idea is to get them to think about the material and process their thoughts and then be able to express themselves effectively in explaining what they’re learning.”
A lot has changed in the past 40 years dating back to Sedr’s own days as an undergrad at VMI. Not necessarily the students.
“I think what’s different is society has changed, to an extent, and I think that’s unfortunate. I think to some extent the idea of personal responsibility is disappearing. It’s easy to blame something else for somebody else’s failings. The idea of personal responsibility for one’s actions has changed somewhat,” Sedr said.
The biggest change over the years, Sedr said, is technology.
“When I started in this business, technology was a blackboard, chalk, a mimeograph machine and a typewriter. Obviously now we’re into the age of the iPad, all kinds of different social media. It’s a totally teaching environment,” Sedr said.
“I think the teacher in the classroom is still the key. Technology can be an adjunct to that, but I don’t think that it can replace what the teacher does in the classroom.
“This is why I got into education, for the teaching. And teaching takes a lot of time, if you do it right, prepare properly, do what you need to do. I thoroughly enjoy it. I enjoy the interaction with kids. That hasn’t changed over the years. That’s what I’m here for, to work with the young men,” Sedr said.
More on Fishburne Military School online at www.Fishburne.org.