My father taught high school for more than thirty years. I don’t know if he was a great teacher, although I came across a letter from a former student of his who thanked him for changing the student’s life. He probably was not a bad teacher.
Long before I became a teacher, before I even imagined wanting to teach, my father shared a piece of wisdom that has been valuable in my own teaching but also an important life lesson. “You have to meet students where they’re at,” he told me, “and try to move them from there.” Decades before a student-centered learning model had become a best practice among the most capable teachers, my father oriented himself to the needs of students and focused on their learning.
I have sometimes struggled to live up to this wisdom. Finding out where students are at can be hard work, and engaging them in ways that moves them toward new horizons can be a frustrating challenge. But this insight offers a worthy perspective for me to aspire to. It keeps me moving from where I’m at toward something better for all of us.
[Daily post 078 of 260 in my year-long challenge.] ♨