Thursday, November 15, 2007

What It's All About

Throughout my life, I've had some great teachers and coaches. I've also had some pretty bad ones. There are a lot of things that separate the good from the bad, but the essential difference that has become clearer and clearer to me as I've gotten older is that the good ones never forget what it's all about. If you're not clear on what it's all about, here's a video you should watch.

The Make A Difference Movie

As teachers and coaches, we can become overly focused on outcomes, sometimes because school districts and overzealous parents demand it and sometimes because we want our students to be "successful". We (students too) concern ourselves with grades, test scores, placings, stopwatches, and win-loss records.
We forget that 10 years from now, most of our students will not remember what a dangling participle is. Chances are pretty good they won't remember a single geometric postulate, theorem, or property.
What they will remember, hopefully, is how to think logically, how to research and investigate, how to be open-minded but not naive, how to be critical but not cynical.
We have to teach skills - as coaches and teachers, if we can't teach them the essential skills, then we have failed miserably at our charge. But, if we have taught skills with no positive schemata whatsoever for those skills to nest in, what will become of those skills long term? Will they become a painful, distant memory, or something remembered with a smile?

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