“No written word, no spoken plea
can teach our youth what they should be.
Nor all the books on all the shelves
it’s what the teachers are themselves”
I was going through some old files on my computer and found this letter that I had received during my 3rd year of teaching:
It reminded me of the importance of the poem above. That poem was recited by by John Wooden – legendary UCLA basketball coach (and also high school english teacher) during a Ted Talk he gave. If you have 17 minutes somewhere in your life to spare – I would spare it by listening to this talk:
I know not all my students were born into great upbringings. One of my philosophies in teaching is that I believe students probably have adults in their lives who are emotionally unpredictable – happy one day, sad or stressed the next. So I will not be that for them – They will only ever see me in a good mood. I will not carry any negative energy into the classroom. And it’s kind of funny because on the other side it ends up being a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The year prior to receiving the letter above I had a 2nd period class that was particularly disruptive. And I had a 3rd period class was well behaved to a point that I felt like I probably didn’t deserve them. The problem was that the events from my 2nd period class often left me upset and stressed out, and I would carry that into my 3rd period. Near the end of the year I realized that too often 3rd period didn’t get the teacher they deserved, because he was always altered by the earlier interactions. That was never going to happen again. It was a learning moment for me. Don’t carry baggage class to class – Let it go and start each anew.