I have been a teacher, both in the public and private sector, since 1964. In 1969, when I was teaching at Ridgely Junior High School (now called Ridgely Middle School), I pioneered a new teaching methodology entitled, “Student Activism in the Classroom.“ My putting this new strategy into motion resulted in an idea that was born in my classroom and eleven months later, passed by the United States Congress, and signed into law by Richard Nixon. In 1971, I was invited by the National Council of Social Studies Teachers to make a presentation at their convention in New York City to explain how my new teaching methodology works. A number of my students, both then and now, have brought to my attention that I’m a pretty good teacher.
In the article, “Boys learn differently than girls, and that’s OK,“ 6-27-17, the distinguished educator, Christopher Post, headmaster at Boys‘ Latin School of Maryland, makes a salient point with which I agree – the need for more separate schools for boys and girls. He did not mention, however, two things that are essential for helping students to succeed – motivation and a love-care connection.
A case can be made that some of the best teachers in America are college and professional football coaches because they are great motivators. They know how to motivate their players. Teachers might have vast arrays of knowledge, but if they are unable to motivate students, then their knowledge counts for naught. When teachers are able to motivate their students, the sky is the limit for what the students might accomplish.
As for the love-care connection, we need to take heed to the lyrics of Burt Bacharach, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing there’s just too little of….no, not just for some, but for everyone.”
Rewinding back to Biblical times, Moses and Abraham were able to connect with their students because they showed time and time again, that they really cared about the well being of the people they were teaching. They were not “stuffed shirts” but rather jumped out taking the initiative in helping and counseling their students. Now, fast forward to today. Why do we see so many troubled students on the streets today? I venture to say these students feel lost; they feel that no one really cares or loves them. A teacher’s demonstration of genuine care and concern (call it love if you like) can go a long way in steering the students on the right course of life. Again, “what the world needs now is love, sweet love, it’s the only thing there’s just too little of….no, not just for some, but for everyone.”
Teacher and Democratic candidate for governor in 2018 primary election