My parents were both first-generation college students. My father, an engineer whose education was interrupted by the Korean War, is a community college alumnus. His education provided him with a forty-year career in a field where he earned 16 patents for his design work. My late mother, the first in her family to graduate from college, attended a public university on a full scholarship. She earned the respect and admiration of her first- and second-grade students until illness took her from her love of the classroom far too soon. My father taught me to teach with my head; my mother taught me to teach with my heart.
When I was old enough to print my first name, my parents took me to the library to get my own library card. (Having a toddler who read canned good labels from the shopping cart meant they did all they could to foster my love of learning.)
Since my mother worked in the same elementary school in which I was enrolled, I spent a lot of time watching her impart her own educational philosophy on her young students. I could not help but be influenced by that philosophy myself.
- Blend competition with compassion.
- Temper perfection with practicality.
- Replace anticipation with enthusiasm.
- Model what you expect.
- Acknowledge a mistake and learn from it.
- Your words linger with a student far beyond the end of class.