Monday, August 28, 2006

Teaching story

Yup.  That's most of the cast of Bloody Ground Ohio.

Who the heck is that guy waving his hands?  He's ruined the bleeping picture.

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In honor of my teaching colleagues around the world -- as they all prepare to go back to the classroom in the next few weeks -- I'm going to drop onto this blog a very smart, very old chestnut of a story.

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The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.  One man, a CEO, decided to explain the Problem With Education.  He argued:  "What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?"

He reminded the other dinner guests that it's true what they say about teachers:  "Those who can:  do.  Those who can't:  teach."  To corroborate, he said to another guest:  "You're a teacher, Susan," he said.  "Be honest.  What do you make?"

Susan, who had a reputation of honesty and frankness, replied, "You want to know what I make?  I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.  I can make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor and an A- feel like a slap in the face if the student did not do his or her very best.  I can make kids sit through 40 minutes of study hall in absolute silence.  I can make parents tremble in fear when I call home.

"You want to know what I make?  I make kids wonder.  I make them question.  I make them criticize.  I make them apologize and mean it.  I make them write.  I make them read, read, read.  I make them spell definitely and beautiful over and over again, until they never misspell either one of those words again.

"I make them show all their work in math and hide all their work on their final drafts in English.  I elevate them to experience music and art and the joy in performance, so their lives are rich, full of kindness and culture, and they take pride in themselves and their accomplishments.

"I make them understand that if you have the brains, then follow your heart...and ifsomeone ever tries to judge you by what you make, you pay them no attention.

"You want to know what I make?  I make a difference.

"What do you make?"

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And now, my friends, I intend to watch A & E's version of Emma, since I'm almost done reading the book, and since I'm teaching Austen this year in AP Lit.

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The above story was taken from Pro Principal, 14313 Platinum Drive, North Potomac, MD  20878.

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