Monday, January 31, 2011

Respect for Teachers

While I avoid making political commentary in my blog, I'm most attuned to the overtone associated with the world of politics and education. I applaud our President's words about parental responsibility when it comes to developing their children's love for learning. Yes, we often need to turn off the TV and eliminate the many distractions in order to cultivate a more nurturing climate for learning. Yes, teachers are entitled to respect by everyone in society....but from a young age I was always taught that respect is earned and not automatically dispensed. Looking back to my days in high school, I always respected good teachers; and to those who were great, I not only respected, but held in high regard. The same held true in the workplace for which I involved myself for 37 years. If I worked with an individual who showed desire to not only do their job, but raised the level of expectations for everyone around them, they were provided respect and appreciation. It didn't matter whether they were at level-entry or a seasoned veteran. Respect is earned by one's actions and regards for others, not a commodity to be given out to others as a result of a directive from a leader.

I make these comments in respect and admiration for the outstanding educators found throughout it in the classroom, assembly line, boardroom, or halls of Congress. But I also recognize that there are individuals who refer to themselves as teachers that are not in the right profession. Having secured the title of "teacher" does not earn respect in itself; rather it is proving oneself in the classroom by instilling a yearning to learn and delve deeper. Witness the basketball court when a referee makes a horrifically bad call, not just a judgement call, but one which is clearly a lack of knowing the rules or showing outright bias. Is he or she shown respect or disdain for their actions? Good refs will occasionally blow a call, but in the long run they are highly toted and respected for their work on the hardwood.

Let the discussion about respect continue so there is a greater understanding for the magnitude which this word so worthily reserves.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Back to Learning Again

I love the holidays! They provide an opportunity to celebrate the true reason for the season; but also time to reflect on where we've been the past year and contemplate on the necessary changes for the New Year. As much as I enjoy all of this, I consider Epiphany to be the true day of transition. Now that I've paused and pondered, I'm ready to rev my engine in 2011. Knowing that the next twelve months will carry all the more uncertainty for many friends and former associates, I know it holds many challenges and exciting opportunities for myself in the way of academia.
This past weekend I enjoyed the movie "The Ron Clark Story", very much inspired by his determination and perseverance. His website displays creative teaching at its best. We should also remember that not everyone should attempt to duplicate his work, but retain their originality and true self. I've picked up a copy of his book "The Essential 55" and can't wait to dive deeper into his classroom environment. Meanwhile, the journey continues....