Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Sat, 24 Nov 2001 07:55:42 -0500 (EST)
Random Thought: A Core Quality of a Good Teacher

It is a chilly, damp, wet, placid Saturday morning during which I was struggling, really struggling, to think about a message early yesterday morning. In it was a request from an education major at a mid-western American university. She had been given an assignment (I won't quote her descriptives of the professor)to contact some teachers over the Thanksgiving break--as if they had nothing to do or nowhere to go during this family holiday and were just sitting around waiting for a such message--and ask them what they thought was the core quality of a good teacher.

With a desperate "please be there," she asked for a reply as soon as possible since she had to hand in the results of her survey by Monday. She asked for a lot! It was not a good time to ask me to think. I am here, but I am not here. My body was--and still is--being ravaged by vast amounts of seratonin-producing tryptophan induced by a Thanksgiving caloric overdose. Luckily, when I received her message all I had was the lingerings of cozy turkey hangover. My digestive system still was softly stuffed with stuffing. My brain still was in a sleepy daze. My muscles were warmly sluggish. Still feeling the loitering effects of a near food coma, my walk this morning through both the autumnal fog and my own drowsy inner fog can best be described as an unsteady "hobble gobble wobble."

Anyway, I suppose there were many things I quickly could have rattled off to this student that sounded good. To handle her question in an insincere, matter-of-fact manner wouldn't have been fair to her. After seriously struggling to think about the question and to come up with a timely answer at such an untimely time, I came upon a clearing in my cerebral fog. The conversation I recently had with Rita popped into my head and I remembered what I had learned from her. I decided to answer the student's request with this: most teachers only feel that students have so much to learn from them. A core quality that sets the good teachers apart from others is that they are students who learn so much from students.

Susan and I would like to wish you all a belated, but no less sincere Thanksgiving. We all have far more reasons than we know to offer a humble, "thank you." And to my Muslim friends celebrating Ramadan, Susan and I also would like to ask that Allah bring peace and blessing into your house. Eid Mubarak.

         Make it a good day.


         Louis Schmier      
         Department of History
         Valdosta State University
         Valdosta, GA  31698                 /~\        /\ /\
         912-333-5947              /^\      /     \    /  /~\  \   /~\__/\
                                 /     \__/         \/  /  /\ /~\/         \
                          /\/\-/ /^\_____\____________/__/_______/^\
                        -_~    /  "If you want to climb mountains,   \ /^\
                         _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -    \____

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