IN THIS ISSUE:
– Welcome: “Who Wants to be a Teacher?”
– Feature: “The Passion for Teaching”
– Teacher/Parent Book Pick – “The One Minute Teacher”
– K-3 Book Pick – “One of Each”
– 4-6 Book Pick – “A Leader’s Guide to I Like Being Me”
– Web Discoveries; “Igniting Your Natural Genius”
– Words of Wisdom – “Sharing the gift of Knowledge”
– Life Skills Resources – Quick Links
WELCOME: “Who wants to be a teacher?”
In October, we talked about mentoring and teaching. This month, we’ll
continue on that theme. In our live Life Skills assembly program, we
always ask children what they would like to be when they grow up.
“Who would like to be a teacher?”
Inevitably, some hands go up.
“Do we have any teachers in the assembly here today?”
Puzzled students look towards the classroom teachers in the back of the room.
The students think “Well, sure, there are *those* teachers.”
“Has anyone here ever taught something to a friend? Perhaps how to play a game, or fix something or do a homework problem?”
Soon, all the hands go up.
“So you see, you are all teachers already. It feels good to teach, doesn’t it? When you teach you share the most precious thing you can share with another person; the gift of knowledge. That’s why your teachers are here and why you can also grow by teaching others.”
In a few moments, students learn that “teaching” isn’t something passive
they watch everyday. It’s a dynamic part of life that they are already
By sharing our knowledge and skills, we can help others,
improve the world and feel better about ourselves, too. And, as a
wonderful bonus, knowledge is truly a wealth that grows by giving.
With best regards,
Kent Davis – Editorinfo@lifeskills4kids.com
PS – We’re now scheduling our award-winning K-6 Life Skills assembly
program on the East Coast. To bring this assembly to
your school, go to http://www.lifeskills4kids.com/assembly.html or call
Jeanne at 800-262-2162.
FEATURE: “The Passion for Teaching”
by B.G. Kelley – Guest Columnist
I am married to a teacher. I know the passion. Even after 28 years in the profession, Eleanor joyously looks to return to school.
“Oh, there are always mixed emotions this time of year,” she tells me. “You’re sad to let go of summer’s freedom, but at the same time you’re excited to resume a meaningful vocation. Most of all, what I like is the opportunity to help the kids grow.”
Eleanor teaches French at a faith-based high school in Philadelphia. It is a small, poor school. Hope is a subject here, along with French and math, English and science; hope is a resource to defend against the urban problems this school and many of its students confront daily.
Teaching in the inner city no longer is a matter of rubbing thoughts together and transmitting knowledge. Teachers – the good ones – bring the students to the material rather than simply bringing the material to the students. It’s the teacher’s job to make the material rejoice, come alive time and time again. At International, the teachers are not frustrated by bureaucracy. They are free to initiate ideas in the classroom that may not conform to some arbitrary curriculum.
But even more, good teachers care about the conduct of life itself: pointing out the differences between right and wrong; understanding that growth feeds from mistakes made; pushing to look inside the soul as well as the mind; having a go at the mystery of ourselves; exploring that complex of crossroads between what is and what ought to be.
Good teachers can be like the sun; they can bring light.
Once, when we were walking in a park, a former student of Eleanor’s approached her and said, “I never thanked you. You were tough, but you were fair. You were caring. Thank you.”
“There is always some fear of the unknown in September,” says Eleanor. “Can I make the material different? Can I find new ways to challenge the students? Can I avoid getting caught up in routine-ness?”
The searches for inspiration during the summer. This summer, she read “Motivating with Love,” a memoir of the teaching career of Mary D. Nelson, a French teacher. Eleanor appropriated one particular paragraph:
“Teachers who do not teach their students how to answer their own questions do not teach. They leave their students literally helpless. It is something like feeding a baby with a bottle when the poor child has reached the age of being able to eat from a dish with a spoon.”
Once, when Eleanor was burrowed in books late at night, searching for the next day’s challenges, I asked “Don’t you ever wing it?”
She replied, “You always have to keep things fresh. There is always a sense of personal renewal that leads to a passion for preparation; without that passion, preparation becomes simple compulsion.”
So once again, for the 29th consecutive September, I am watching my wife go off to school, re-tooled and re-energized after a summer’s hiatus, ready to do what she does best.
And I know this: If she and other teachers like her didn’t believe they could convince their students of the power of learning, of the power in their mysterious natures, surely they would have left the classrooms long ago.
TEACHER/PARENT BOOK PICKS
by Spencer Johnson, Constance Johnson
True, no one is going to become a teacher in a minute. But this tiny volume is a collection of tips on how to nurture the independent learner in all of us. For new teachers, this is a quick way to understand the essence of being a competent teacher. For veterans, it’s a quick refresher course on what makes us most effective as teachers.
GRADE K-3 BOOK PICKS
One of Each
by Mary Ann Hoberman, Marjorie Priceman (Illustrator)
I didn’t find any children’s books specifically about “teaching” but I did find this one about sharing. It’s a story about a dog named Oliver Tolliver who lived alone. Gradually, he shares his life with other animals and
learns that sharing is the key to happiness. One reviewer observed, “There’s not a single syllable too many in the entire book, and if you’ve tried to write poetry yourself, you know how difficult this is to achieve.” Others proclaimed that this book was one to read and re-read with your kids.
GRADE 4-6 BOOK PICK
by Judy Lalli, Douglas L. Mason-Fry
This teacher’s guide will help you convey self-esteem skills to older elementary students. The children’s version of the book just has the poems. This guide also has activities, suggestions, resources, and reproducible worksheets to enhance the poems’ messages.
WEB DISCOVERIES: for teachers, parents & kids
Igniting your Natural Genius
Section 6: Coaching and Mastery
While seeking content for this month’s newsletter, I did a websearch for
the phrase “The teacher always learns more than the student.” That led
me to Mr. Prasad Kaipa and The Mithya Institute for Learning and
Mithya focuses on researching and understanding the nature of learning.
They consult with large corporations to design leadership programs and
to increase creativity, innovation, team effectiveness and knowledge
management in organizations. They are now working to add self-
development programs for youth in the future.
Please note, this is *not* a site for elementary educators and it is “heady”
stuff! But if you are curious about the philosophy and mechanics of
teaching, this is a fascinating place to explore. Here are some sample
topics that you’ll find on the linked page above:
unless the teacher becomes the student””The teacher always learns more than the student,
so the student is the better teacher?”
the last person to ask is that person”
the teacher should stop teaching”
- 10 Things Any School Can Do to Build Parent Involvement . . . Plus Five Great Ways to Fail!
- Sixty-Eight Parent Involvement Ideas That Really Work
- Seventy-Five Ideas to Build Parent Involvement and Support
- Selected Parent Involvement Research
- Over 200 products to help you build parent involvement at your school
And for parents:
These are just a few of the resources that The Parent Institute makes available to parents. You’re welcome to use them in your own home, or pass them along to other parents!
Eleven Questions About School Success
Forty-Four Proven Ideas Parents Can Use to
Help Their Children Do Better in School
What Principals Would Tell Parents to
Help Parents Help Their Children
Tips Parents Can Use to Help Their Children
Parents are the mentors with the greatest opportunity to shape their
children’s lives. This list gives a range of great selection of motivational
ideas and helpful techniques. The Parent’s Institute compiled the ideas
from their “Parents Make the Difference!” newsletter.
WORDS OF WISDOM: Sharing the gift of Knowledge
It’s only natural that great thinkers throughout history have had much to
say about the skill of teaching. Discuss a few of the quotes below with
your students, children and fellow educators to see what they think.
“There’s no word in the language
I revere more than ‘teacher.’
My heart sings
when a kid refers to me as his teacher,
and it always has.
I’ve honored myself
and the entire family of man
by becoming a teacher.”
Pat Conroy, Prince of Tides
“A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell
where his influence stops.”
Henry Brooks Adams
“Teachers, I believe, are the most responsible
and important members of society
because their professional efforts affect the fate of the earth.”
Helen Caldicott, author and peace activist
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.”
Mark Van Doren
“You cannot teach a man anything;
you can only help him discover it in himself.”
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.”
William Arthur Ward
“If you plan for a year, plant a seed.
If for ten years, plant a tree.
If for a hundred years, teach the people.
When you sow a seed once,
you will reap a single harvest.
When you teach the people,
you will reap a hundred harvests.”
“Better than a thousand days of diligent study
is one day with a great teacher.”
“Anyone who stops learning is old,
whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”
“In a completely rational society,
the best of us would be teachers
and the rest of us
would have to settle for something less.”
“A good teacher must be able to put himself in the place of those who find learning hard.”
“The greatest sign of success for a teacher …
is to be able to say,
“The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
“If a child can’t learn the way we teach,
maybe we should teach the way they learn.”
Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Estrada
“If students come to us from strong, healthy
functioning families, it makes our job easier.
If they do not come to us from strong, healthy,
functioning families, it makes our job more important.”
“A master can tell you what he expects of you.
A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.”
Patricia Neal with Richard DeNeut
“A teacher’s day is half bureaucracy, half crisis, half monotony and one-eighth epiphany. Never mind the arithmetic.”
what is already known by the student”