It’s What The Teachers Are Themselves

“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:

John Wooden – Ted 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.


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