How appropriate that the prompt today is Educate, on this last day of summer break, the day before the new school year begins. I came upon a quote last week that I loved:
The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.
-William Arthur Ward
Working as an Assistant Teacher for six years now, I have had the opportunity to see different teaching styles in action. I found the quote holds so true, after witnessing those teachers who just tell and those who inspire. There is great import put on “differentiated learning” where I work, recognizing that not all children learn the same way. If one method doesn’t work, doesn’t reach a child, find another way to allow him to understand. I have found this approach to be rewarding, both for the student and myself- approaching a concept from a different direction, having to find that route that will allow me to reach the child and then his light bulb moment of “getting it” is a great feeling.
I will combine the daily prompt with my smile of the week, as they are connected.
The First Grade class I had last year was a special one, both the head teacher and I were very sad to say good bye at the end of the year. It was a very cohesive group, the boys looked out for one another, were eager to learn, and overall were just a pleasure to see everyday. Last week I had orientation for the upcoming year, and one afternoon as I was putting up a bulletin board I heard my name being called. It was three of the boys from last year’s class. I ran down the hall to greet them, all of us excited to see one another. Never missing the opportunity for a selfie, we took one together, which I later emailed to the mother of one of the boys. This child had needed a little extra help last year, and as a result the mother and I developed a close relationship. She emailed me back to say his seeing me was the highlight of his day, he was so excited. It was a feel good moment hearing that, knowing that the impression I made on this child in first grade was a positive one. On Saturday, there was a knock at my front door, and my husband called to me upstairs saying someone was here asking for Miss Lisa. I came down to find another student from last year standing there with his mother. She told me they were passing my house and he wanted to stop to say hello. She said he “had to” stop and say hello. Once again I was very touched, and continue to smile every time I think of it.
Educating is not just about disseminating information and teaching new concepts, how to add, subtract and spell but I believe also about fostering connections with students, handing over lessons of right and wrong, and taking a true interest in the student as a person.
I aspire to be that teacher that inspires.