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Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Teacher Makes a Difference

The past couple of years of middle school were difficult times for my oldest son.  He had a severe case of "minimumeffortitis" going on.  Last year was the worst when his affliction became compounded with a couple of teachers who just didn't seem to be able to properly instruct/guide the students.  Yes, even the "honors" courses can have some sub-par teachers.  (I found out from SEVERAL other parents that my son was not the only one struggling in two particular classes.  Common theme was the lack of instruction/accountability on the teachers' part.) Please do not get me wrong.  Regardless of a teacher's own shortcomings, I expect my children to do their best 100% of the time.  So I'm not blaming his lackadaisical effort on anyone but him.  However, I do know that teachers can make a world of difference for the students.  This year has been much different for my son.  His teachers have been amazing and he is excelling in his classes.  He's bringing home his best report card since entering middle school.  His teachers have made a difference.

Another example of a teachers making a difference was revealed to me last night.  I was spending time with some International students from one of the local universities and I asked how classes were going.  Most said, "ok", but one student was very clear in his response.  He is in the ESLI - Level 1 class. (English as Second Language).  He told me it was very boring.  That the teachers just write what's in the book on the board and then they test on it.  He looked at me and said, "they need to find way to make it (interesting) so students want to come. they need to make learn English fun."  I wondered how many others felt that same way.  University ESLI classes are intense, this I know.  But from the student's perspective, he's bored and not sure he's really learning.  I wonder if those programs can be fun and still get in all the required material so the students can advance to the University classes.  I'm sure somewhere there is a teacher who could make that difference...if only allowed.

So how does that all tie in to this blog and my journey?  Well, my friend Missy posted this entry about her experience of a Body Pump class she attended last week.  Interestingly enough, before I read it I attended a different class with a different instructor.  To be as kind as I possibly can be, I was not thrilled with how the class went.  The instructor spoke a LOT about his recent doctor appointment, his young grandchild learning to speak another language before English, his recent trip to MO where they have the best BBQ ever (same story I heard the week before) among other things.  Personally, I don't need those distractions.  Then, on top of that, he decided to change one of the workout sections because he "didn't like the seven 'bottom halfs' at the end...it was too hard" and he messed up the music and/or the movements a couple of different times.  My thoughts on that were, "I'm sure the Les Mills company knows what they're doing and why they placed the the bottom half squats where they did" along with "I'm not an instructor and I know the new music/movements..."  Plus, there is one lady in particular who just joined about a week ago.  Her form is dangerously bad and is truly asking for a back injury if not corrected.  (rounded back, swinging motion with the bar, etc.) He never mentioned it to her.  Maybe some people need to talk during workout, I am not one of those people.  I just want to do what I need to do.  I left the class a little annoyed.

Today, I went to an 8am Body Pump class.  The instructor was really good.  Even though there were no new people in class, he made sure to demonstrate every combination and stressed form.  Throughout the class, he would remind everyone of where the hands should be placed, where the bar stops, proper posture, not to lean forward during lunges, etc.  He'd watch the class as we went along and would correct the form of anyone he saw that needed help.  There was no idle chit-chat during the class; it was all instruction.  He was a good teacher.  I felt like my workout was better and that overall, the class was better.

And then the thoughts moved on from school and Body Pump to the fact that I am a teacher as well.  My family will learn from me.  For way too many years, they have observed and learned some not-so-good habits.  And if the teacher makes a difference, like I know they do, I am glad that I am changing a lot of how I'm influencing and instructing my children.  I thank God for opening my eyes to so many unhealthy situations and for guiding me through this life.  I pray that as He continues to reveal His ways to me that I can teach my children those same lessons.

Truly, the Teacher makes all the difference!

"I praise you [God] because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~Psalm 139:14

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