Copyright © Louis Schmier and Atwood Publishing.

Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 07:55:45 -0400 (EDT)
Random Thought: Isaiah 50:4

Just came in from my walk. Good morning. It is gorgeous outside down here: a nice, balmy 65f (I think that's about 17c). I sat down non-chalantly with a delicious cup of freshly brewed coffee. Nothing particular in mind. Thinking more about doing the on-line newspaper cross-word puzzles to brush and comb my brain. Called up my e-mail and started reading.

A message from a Canadian e-mail colleague--no, a friend--knocked me off my socks. She talked of a hard working foreign student struggling with learning English. She talked of how one of these students proudly showed her English tutor a letter one of her instructors had written her, applauding her dedication and her work ethic. "I have known this woman for 5 years," my friend wrote me, "so know very well the sense of inferiority she has overcome as well as her struggle to learn and communicate in English. Every year she improves a little bit more so the letter from her instructor was an affirmation of all the work she does as well as an encouragement of who she is as a person. The fact that this busy man took the time to applaud this student really made her day."

Then, Margo, let me have it. A passage from Isaiah she heard in church last Sunday that hit her like a bolt of lightning: "The Lord has given me the heart of a teacher that I may sustain the weary with a word."

"And isn't that a great motto for our profession," she proclaimed. I could feel her celebration and excitement in every word.


I bolted up when I read that passage just as she did. It's going up on my door. Margo is right. That is one heck of a motto for our profession. At least, it should be.

Isaiah nailed it!

She got me feeling. You know, the art of teaching is really knowing what to focus on. And, our teaching is what our attitudes make it out to be. So many of us hauntingly moan about bothersome students, "if only....then." I don't think they bother to see that those "if onlys" are what real teaching is really all about, if we dreamt instead of condemned, then, oh my, how we can lighten up instead of darkening those "thens."

So, excited me is thinking: what would happen if we thought less about teaching the length of a course and more about teaching the breadth and depth of each person in that course.

What would happen if we asked ourselves five questions:

        When I look at students, do I listen to the heartbeat of each?
        When I look at students, do I feel the inner spirit of each?
        When I look at students, do I see the dreams of each?
        When I look at students, do I dream that their future is the future?
        Do I struggle to sustain the weary?

         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" -    \____

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