Carmen M. Hamer holds a Bachelor of Science degree in social science, from National Louis University, 1989; and a Master of Arts in Organization Management (with an emphasis in human resource management), from the University of Phoenix, 2001; and 68 credit hours of organization and management courses at the doctorate level.
In 2007, Ms. Hamer retired from the Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Prisons. She worked in management and supervision for nearly twenty-three years at several federal prison facilities throughout the United States. She began her career in the education department but spent nearly 20 years in human resources providing support and oversight for a comprehensive federal personnel program. Collectively, she has over 27 years of teaching, management, and supervisory experience. Throughout her career with the Bureau of Prisons and beyond, she has effectively facilitated courses on various subjects, at various academic levels. She has instructed in both traditional and non-traditional settings and has excelled in motivating others to attain positive results through creative solutions.
Working in a correctional environment equipped Carmen with the knowledge, skills, and ability to handle unique and complex situations. It broadened her capacity to meet and deal with a variety of individuals, at all levels, with varying backgrounds and needs. After retiring, she relocated to Newnan, GA where she worked to help individuals successfully transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Since her relocation to Central Florida in 2012, Carmen has been working as a mental health targeted case manager, helping eligible recipients gain access to medical, social, educational, and other support services. Here exposure to distressed children, youth and families inspired her to revamp and expand a home-based, for-profit consulting business (ClassyLinks Creative Consultants, Inc.) to form a 501(c)3 non-profit collaboration, which includes the E. H. Mott Learning Center.
Ms. Hamer’s Teaching Philosophy
Ms. Hamer’s philosophy of teaching evolved from many hours of formal education, life lessons, and teaching experiences. Her diverse and broad range of experience includes the teaching of early childhood through adult education. In 1975, she began her post-high school studies at Indiana State University, in Terre Haute, Indiana, where she majored in Special Education and Early Childhood Education. Over a span of fourteen plus years, Ms. Hamer was introduced to many theories and philosophies about human needs and behavior, particularly as they relate to communicating and acquiring knowledge. Accordingly, she found her commission as an educator to be threefold:
- to promote positive and critical thinking while learning;
- to inspire enthusiasm for learning through my communications; and
- to encourage a strong motivation for life-long learning
To accomplish this, Ms. Hamer applies a broad variety of strategies based on the premise that most any person can learn, especially when the individual has the desire and the right motivation.
Behavioral theory offers a wealth of principles that, when used appropriately, can benefit classroom learning and management at all levels. In concert with this idea, Ms. Hamer believes that teaching and learning have to be emotional and intellectual for both the teacher and the learner in order to reap the greatest benefit. Therefore, she approaches teaching and learning from an emotionally intelligent perspective, which creates a learning environment that focuses on the learner’s needs and interests. At the E. H. Mott Learning Center, her goal is to create opportunities for each learner to analyze his or her experiences and then apply them to the subject matter, establishing the foundation for more personal and real-life conditions.
Like many, Ms. Hamer believes in the basic premise that learning occurs whenever one adopts new behaviors or modifies existing behavior patterns in a way that has some influence on future performance or attitudes. Through a “new path” to learning, she provides the input of new information into the matrix of ideas, information, and skills already present in each learner, while considering individual strengths and differences. In synthesizing new information, Ms. Hamer encourages learners to reflect on their own experiences to serve as emotional stimuli. Equally, Ms. Hamer believes output is important. Thus, she encourages every learner to put their knowledge, skills, and abilities to practice to produce positive actions. Ms. Hamer contends it is critical to approach the learning environment from a collaboration of innovation, analysis, and common sense because all of these elements are essential in teaching and learning. This approach perpetuates a cognitive approach to sharing information with learners and helps her to find successful outcomes, simultaneously.
Ms. Hamer has a diverse background and experiences that enable her to enhance her ability and flexibility to use a variety of instructional approaches, which results in more effective student engagement, better assessments, and improved mastery. It strengthens her ability to maintain accountability of the curriculum and instructional plans provided at the learning center. As both the administrator and a learner, she expects that everyone will achieve the most satisfying experiences at the E. H. Mott Learning center, as her teaching and other philosophies revolve around her impression of the broad interpretations of teaching and learning. Ms. Hamer is a firm believer that it is possible to think outside our sphere of habits and rituals to make learning worthwhile.
Her teaching philosophy can perhaps best be described as the teaching of thinking, the use of feelings, and sound practice by which teachers evoke different perspectives of the subject matter that allow learners to receive, understand, and apply information effectively.
E.H. Mott Learning Center’s Niche
It has been written that once upon a time, trainers shackled young elephants with heavy chains to deeply embedded stakes. In that way, the elephant learned to stay in its place. Reportedly, older elephants never tried to leave even though they had the strength to pull the stake and move beyond their restraints. Their “conditioning” limited their movements with only a small metal bracelet around their foot—attached to nothing.
Conditioned constraints bind many people like powerful elephants and are as limiting to one’s progress as the unattached chain around the elephant’s foot. From: Teaching the Elephant to Dance, Belasco, 1990
Many children, youth, and adults with mental health problems demonstrate a complete spectrum of learning disabilities that are precursors to a socioeconomic status that affects earning potential, educational attainment, and other quality of life attributes. Like most disabilities, the mere existence of a mental health diagnosis can contribute to emotional instability for learners and their families responsible for their care. Often times they are at increased risk for poor achievement and quality-of-life outcomes when their disability is seen as a barrier (restraint) and the basis for their foundational perceptual and thinking skills (conditioning) for goal attainment. Like a chain, the stigma associated with “invisible disabilities” like ADHD, depression, autism, or anxiety is like a connected series of links that support learners rendering themselves as powerless. If our thoughts are bound by these “chains”, so will our actions. At E. H. Mott Learning Center, we break the chains that bind!