My dad was raised on the mill hill and my mom grew up on a small farm. Neither of my parents graduated from college but they ended up being successful in the business world. My dad was one of the greatest teachers I have ever known. The more I learn about education, the more I realize how simplistic and effective he was in his approach. He taught me to write a check, back a trailer, and drive a three shift on the column truck that I drove to high school. He taught me the soft skills of being on time, saying “I’m sorry,” taking responsibility, dressing to the next level, and being a transparent leader. He was patient when he taught. He would model what was expected and then he would let me try. I would fail and he would re-teach. I would retry and when I succeeded, we would celebrate with a hug or a high five. He always taught with patience and with a desire to see me become successful. He was and still is a great teacher.
I thought back to my dad’s many lessons and how important it is for us to be patient and to re-teach our children, employees, students, church members, and business partners. I challenge you to be patient, model, teach, assess, re-teach, and celebrate success.
Education “talk” has become so complex that we sometimes forget that we are teaching children. Terms like “tests” are now called “assessments.” Group activities are now referred to as “collaboration.” Learning how to use a computer is now called “digital literacy.” Red bird, blue bird, etc, is now called “differentiation.” Hands-on-learning is now called “project based learning.” Remediation is now “academic support.” Discipline is now called “positive behavior intervention.” I could go on and on but I think you get the point. We have created a complex system of terms, but in reality, very little has changed.
Technology is one of the biggest pushes in education today and I am all for it. In fact, I beg for it for my school constantly. Please don’t get me wrong, though. Technology is a tool. We hear that all the time, but it truly is a tool. For young educators, it is common and they do not think of it as something spectacular. Those of us who learned and taught with a chalkboard and a #2 pencil are blown away by technology, but our new teachers and our students only see this as part of their “normal” education. While we are amazed by the opportunities provided through technology, we can never leave the simplicity of education. Technology – from the interactive boards to individual student devices – only puts students in a modern school that mirrors the working world. In order to be successful educators, we must be patient, model, teach, assess, reteach, and celebrate.
The simplicity of teaching is part one of a lesson from Dad, but the part two is more important than anything else. That part is the relationship between my dad and me.
Why did I want to learn?
I wanted to learn to make my dad proud! That is the beginning of a relationship between student and teacher. Part two coming soon……