To Mrs. Gray, one great teacher

One Room School House

My 4th grade teacher could have taught a rock to read.  She had taught in a one room school-house before the multi-grade school was built.  One thing she knew was her  students.

Mrs. Gray was fair and caring.  She would take time with each student making sure that they got what they needed to learn.  Her job wasn’t to be liked but to teach and to make sure we learned.  And learn we did.

What she taught me was simple:

Teachers must hear their students.  They need to be able to hear what the student isn’t vocalizing about the lessons.  The parts they don’t understand that they don’t understand.  You give the faster smarter students their head when it comes to learning and you don’t make them stay with the class because poor Johnny is going to upset.  They understand learning is not a team effort.  Johnny must move at his own pace as much the smartest student.

If one way of teaching doesn’t work, you need to try another way until you find the one that the student can relate to well.  Not all students learn in the same method.

You are the teacher.  You are also the one in control of the class. You need to behave that way and the class needs to understand this.  Your purpose is to impart what you know to them and to teach them how to think for themselves.  If you have done your job right, they will learn to think and to question everything, including what you taught them.

You cannot be everything to ever student but you need to take time for the students who need it.  You need to be kind to those who have very little kindness in their life.  Sometimes your belief in them is all they have.

And you never stop trying to teach them.

Teachers deskMrs. Gray, one of the best teachers I ever had in a long sorted career of education understood this all well.  It’s not easy being a teacher and if you are going into it because you flunked out of something else in college?  You are going into it for the wrong reasons.