In a crime-ridden, urban area, I watched a teacher lead a group of sixth graders with such dignity and grace that it felt like he was single-handedly passing out futures.
It felt so foreign, I was mesmerized. The students sat at individual desks, facing the front of the classroom. They quietly raised their hands when the teacher posed questions or asked for volunteers. They watched the teacher and their peers write on the board, and copied responses on to the papers on their desks. When the teacher directed students to choose another student to assist in a problem, they did so... And listened to their answers. After every answer, correct or not, the teacher acknowledged their efforts and easily moved on. The students smiled and remained engaged. There didn't seem to be a single person, including me, in that small room in a temporary building, who wasn't learning.
And long division was just the prop. What we were all learning was listening, acceptance, focus, determination, cooperation, problem-solving, respect, and appreciation, just to name a few. I am in schools on a regular basis and it has been years, if at all, that I have seen so much delivered and received within a lesson. It gave me such hope...
If we show up as educators to teach a subject, we may impart some knowledge. If we show up to improve test scores, we will likely not have much to show for a hard day's work. And if we show up as this teacher did, ready to reach the hearts of students, we will succeed beyond measure.
Thank you, Mr. Jones