Nathan Allen loves to work with kids.
In fact, he loves it so much that he became a school teacher.
But many teachers realize there is more to the job than clocking in five days a week and taking weekends and summers off.
They realize that the job requires out-of-the-box thinking, especially when engaging young minds in the 21st century.
Allen, 32, recently launched his Bike Route to Success project for his students at Lucy Wortham James Elementary School in St. James.
The project consists of an incentive program that provides bikes for each classroom in the second grade.
This means, six lucky students would receive new bikes.
"For some students this is a great means of transportation for the students that walk to school and for others a way to promote exercise," Allen said. "This will all be possible with the help of local businesses to help raise funds for these bikes. We would love for this to be an annual event and to also continue it for all elementary grades."
Allen uses a program called classdojo.com – a website that helps track positive and negative student behaviors with "a point-based tracking system and fun interactive avatars for the kids," he said.
"The way the program works is that the students get points for positive behaviors such as being on time to school, working hard in class and helping others," Allen said.
Now in his fourth year teaching in St. James, Allen took some time to answer a few questions about himself.
What brought you to St. James? Where are you from originally?
I started out in St. James by taking a teaching position at Boys and Girls Town of Missouri for four years. I am originally from Crocker.
What made you want to become an educator?
I had a high school history teacher from Crocker named Jim Morgan who inspired us to think beyond our textbooks. Mr. Morgan had a way to reach even the most stubborn students and make them successful in the classroom. This inspired me to be an educator, in addition to growing up with many family members that worked in the school system.
What do you like the most/least about your job?
I love being a teacher to make an impact in the lives my students. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing a student light up when they learn a new concept.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be in the NBA.
Favorite subject in school?
Favorite historical figure?
Page 2 of 2 - Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln was an influential leader that played an important role in our nation's history.
Best vacation ever?
Washington D.C. was a great trip my wife and I took that gave me the opportunity to see many landmark buildings such as the White House, the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. These along with many others were incredible to see in person.
Who inspires you?
My family inspires me. They are some of the hardest working people you will ever meet. This motivates me to always keep me focused on working hard to make an impact with my students.