Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Mon, 21 Aug 2000 07:01:43 -0400 (EDT)
Random Thought: My Most Powerful Teaching Tool

Weather report: 5:00 a.m; 82 degrees; heat factor 93 degreStatus: RO X-Status: X-Keywords: X-UID: 13908

es. The National Weather Center has just issued a warning. The heat is melting the snow caps on fire ant hills and that is posing a threat of flash flooding throughout low lying South Georgia. Stay indoors. There is a state-wide noise alert. The excessive howling of the dogs of August may cause damage to ear drums of the very young and short out hearng aids of the elderly.

During my pre-dawn walk, much of what my eyes see is Augustish. Stinging globules of salty water pouring off my foreheand, flooding down the bridge of my nose, swirling around the protective eaves of my eyelashes, and flooding into my eyes. Everything is distorted and blurred as if I was opening my eyes underwater.

And yet, with every squshy step, I was slowly seeing clearly the answer to a student's question through my heart's eyes.

It was last Friday during the "what do you want to know about me" community building exercise. It's a time when I sit among the students and answer without hesitation any and all questions of whatever nature they may have about me. Towards the end of the class period, a student, a first year education major, hit with a biggie. He wanted to know what I thought was my most important classroom method. Silence. I was thinking of a response when time ran out. The "clockmaster" joyously exercised her authority and yelled an end-of-class, "Time." Rescued. I had the weekend to come up with an answer.

Over the last few days, that answer formed in my heart and head. This morning it evolved into words.

I will tell the students that the dominant implement in my teaching toolbox is my attitude. To paraphrase Thomas Edison, what goes on in the classroom is ten percent people and situations and ninety percent my attitude in responding to those people and events.

And what is my attitude? Fundamentally, I don't make students my excuse; I make them my reason. I feel it is a privilege to walk among them rather than feeling it is their privilege to sit humbly before me.

And from that refreshing and nourishing springwell naturally flows everything I feel, think, hear, see, say, and do.

Make it a good day. 


Louis Schmier           
Department of History    
Valdosta State University
Valdosta, GA  31698                        /~\    /\ /\
912-333-5947                       /^\    /   \  /  /~ \     /~\__/\
                                  /   \__/     \/  /     /\ /~      \
                            /\/\-/ /^\___\______\_______/__/_______/^\
                          -_~     /  "If you want to climb mountains, \ /^\
                             _ _ /      don't practice on mole hills" -\____

Return to The Complete Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier
Return to the Random Thoughts of Louis Schmier