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Friday, December 16, 2011

All I Really Need to Know about Teaching

Dave started it. Here's mine: It's been on a bulletin board at eye level at my desk for seven years. It's a little embarrassing to share because it's more than a tad hubristic. But I think it helps me be better. I don't really need to have it hanging up because I can recite it from memory. Like a mantra. But it's comforting to have it there. Like a talisman.
“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather. I possess tremendous power to make life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration, I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated, and a person is humanized or de-humanized. If we treat people as they are, we make them worse. If we treat people as they ought to be, we help them become what they are capable of becoming.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
(There is a teacherified version floating around by Haim Ginott. I like the original better.)

I don't take away from this "it's all about me." The take away is more like, "There is a ton that is in my control, and that makes all that happens here my responsibility." Which is maybe a little oppressive and maybe a little "duh." But I still like reading it every day.