Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Fri, 2 Aug 1996 16:47:51 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Random Thoughts: "You Know..."

It's a dreary day. It's hard to think of the sunning shining in the sky above the overcast of thick, swirling, black, threatening clouds. The rain is falling in torrents. The wind is up. The thunder is thundering. And the lightening is flashing. My disc-less neck is really aching because of the low atmospheric pressure. I'm more than a bit damp and chilly from being caught in one of today's incessant downpours without an umbrella. I'm trapped in this cold office because all my unbrellas are a block away at the home. My car, my toy, is dead in the water because I left the lights on. My shoes are soggy and my toes are turning blue. And, I'm lonely for the comfort of my angelic wife. All of this has put me into a strange, wondering "you know..." mood.

You know: many of us have ever been asked to recite the Gettysburg Address or Hamlet's soliloquoy in a job interview. many of us have ever used one of those long, unpronouncable, exotic, words--even in crosswords puzzles, we had to memorize for spelling bees.'s important for teachers to believe that every student is interesting and worth getting to know.'s important that teachers see every student as a valuable person, someone from whom he or she can learn.

....teaching is hard work that, contrary to both popular and academic belief, not everyone can do since it involves more than just talking.

....when a teacher has taken time to get to know a student beyond an I.D. number and a name, and builds a relationship, it's easier to understand the student, appreciate the student's problems, and work with that student.

....I wish we would talk more about and celebrate students' strengths and "can do's" rather than go around complaining about or making fun of their weaknesses and "can'ts."

....I wish we would be as relentless an advocate for the needs of each students as we are for our own.

....listening to a student is so much more than merely hearing. It so much more complex than merely using our ears. It's paying attention, staying alert and focused, staying open to alternatives, being open-minded, expecting that a student has something valuabe to say, etc.

....when a teacher is searching and struggling with how to make things work for each student, he or she cares.'s important to have a positive expectation for each student and truly believe in each student and making it work for the student.

....each student is a treasure and deserves to be valued and respected for who he or she is, not merely for what he or she can or cannot do, not for the grade or score he or she makes.

....the more I teach, the more I realize the impact of attitude on both teaching and learning. It is more important that information, appearance, talent or skill.

....we can make teachers do, but how can we make them care?

....we can make students do, but how can we make them care?

....students watch our actions. A sympathetic pat on the back, an excited gleam, a kind word, an annoyed roll of our eyes, a bored sigh, a hint of frustration are etched into their hearts and minds

....varying teaching stlyes doesn't mean to do less, just to do it differently. It's not asking for a free ride, a gift, a handout, watering down, a special privilege. It merely means working hard to meet an individual's needs.

....teachers get discouraged and tired. They hear so many negatives about education. They usually get most of the blame. They usually get contacted only when there's a problem. Maybe we should take that extra effort to say, "You're doing a great job" when they deserve it. Teachers need support and encouragement that just like anyone else.'s a bit unrealistic, a bit silly, to expect students to be able to properly manage their time, be excited about their studies, be able to write Hemmingwayesque sentneces, to think logically with the skill of Aristotle, to be completely organized with the skill of an efficiency expert, to be disciplined, comitted and dedicated, to know how to study, to know how to....

....a teacher has to be a lover of people with a love that grows stronger with each new experience.

....teaching is hard work, but, oh, seeing a person motivated for the very first time, watching a student start turning his/her life around and putting the broken pieces together is worth it!

....the rewards of touching a student touches the heart in a special way and remind me that quitting is not an option, for there are lives at stake each day garden is going to be fresh and beautiful tomorrow after this thirst-quenching rain. So, maybe it's not such a yukky day.

Make it a good day.


Louis Schmier  (912-333-5947)
Department of History                      /~\    /\ /\
Valdosta State University          /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
Valdosta, Georgia 31698           /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
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                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
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