“Teachers touch the future due to who they are not what they know or can do!”
Ken Pierce ~
Who was your favorite teacher?
When I ask people this specific question in my seminars and university courses they usually answer very quickly. It seems to be invariably…an easy question.
Who was your favorite teacher in school? It doesn’t matter what grade, what subject or where you crossed paths with this person. Just write down your favorite teacher’s name right now.
What I have noticed is how pervasive is this phenomenon of having a favorite teacher. I think I have come across one or two people who were not able to come up with an answer right away. Some had more than one.
Harry was mine!
Among his students, and behind his back, he was known affectionately as “Harry!” In class however, he was “Mr. Northrop!” To his colleagues of course, he was “Harold Northrup.” He taught Grade 12 English Literature, mostly, as I recall … poetry and Shakespeare. Harry worked in an inner city, Catholic high school parked across from Saint John’s central square…King Square. He was my favorite and best teacher, and like everybody, I probably had a few dozen, or more.
“Everybody experiences far more than he understands. Yet it is experience, rather than understanding, that influences behavior.”
Harry had been married to Shirley for many years and they had children. He referenced Shirley frequently during class when he would quote some piece of romantic literature and contrast our primitive eighteen year old courting efforts to real courting…invariably teasing us with a wink and a half smile. Such was Harry’s efforts to help us learn such things as respect, gentleness and romance.
We knew he was teasing us but yet he wasn’t … and we knew that too!
What I remember most vividly was his respect not just for his spouse and his relationship to her but for us. It was during Harry’s class I learned about the real agenda in every classroom and with every teacher. It was in Harry’s class I learned the real subject wasn’t English Literature but rather Harry the person, Harry the educator, Harry the entertainer and especially Harry’s core values.
“Anyone who tries to make a distinction between education and entertainment doesn’t know the first thing about either.”
I have long since forgotten the English Literature but I will never forget his sense of humor, his bantering style and his inspiring respect for people. He applied it personally when I was under threat of failing my high school graduation for refusing to complete a “required” religion test. He respected my decision and my need to take that risk, even though I don’t think he share my values about it.
What I learned from Harry was the true agenda of his English Literature class was his values and especially his respect for others … including me. I have taken Harry’s learning and probably used it every day of my life since.
“We become what we behold. We shape our tools and then our tools shape us.”
Years later when I had the responsibility of hiring and training early childhood educators,Harry’s respect was one of the hallmarks of my selection criteria. I remember the t-shirt I saw in a catalogue which said, ‘I touch the future, I teach!’ Well its true! Harry touched my future and thousands of his other students as well.
Honoring the educational curriculum is important so kids learn the knowledge and skills which prepare them for their future. But without the values to carry them they are just information.
It really is summed up by the Canadian genius Marshal McLuhan when he said, “The medium is the message!” Harry was the medium and respect his message.
“Your favorite teacher changed your perception of yourself forever!” Ken Pierce
To find your favorite teacher’s impact on your life, check out the Take Away Tool below.
POINTS TO PONDER AND REMEMBER are:
The real curriculum is every classroom is the educator’s values.
Your favorite teacher touched your being because of their values.
Your favorite teacher changed your sense of yourself forever.
Your favorite teacher’s legacy lives on in you.
Your favorite teacher was the real agenda in the class you attended.
Contact Ken Pierce to arrange a workshop for your Educators