Home > Uncategorized > What difference does one teacher make?

What difference does one teacher make?

What difference does one teacher make? The timing of this question could not be more relevant than now.

Does learning a wide array of subjects over the course of first twelve years come naturally?
Does every student see the importance in following through on a syllabus filled with diverse subjects?
Can each individual student latch on to every single subject they will take during the course of a high school education?

Learning from the lessons and mistakes of human history, the mysteries that lie underneath the biological and chemical surfaces that touch us on a daily basis, discovering the mathematical beauty behind the golden ratio or the fibonacci sequence, feeling in tune with multivariate game theory of economics and business, finding freedom of expression by observing the colors painted outside the lines, or jumping outside the comfort zone of one’s natural spoken language.

All of these subjects are part of compulsory education. Each student is required to attend.
Do they like it? The answer is more likely no. Every student usually does not find all of the above subjects relevant. The chances of a student succeeding in a subject they find no interest in is slim.

On the first day of most high school classes in America, we assign seven or eight 900-page hardcover books to a student, and send them home with a backpack used to shlep material they don’t want to read.

Or worse yet, the books end up collecting dust in a cold, dark locker. The elected officials have the luxury to look on at their ‘mission accomplished’; in their minds, another successful year is beginning. In their minds, the work is done. The students are on their way. It is almost as if we as a society are setting up our youth for failure. We’ve led them to the water, but we haven’t even shown them how to drink.

So what makes the difference? What puts the odds in favor of the player instead of the house?
The answer is passion.

Teachers with passion inspire students. They turn a boring subject into something, at a minimum tolerable, and at best a new hobby that the student owns. Passion gets a classroom to transform from cacophony to harmony. To the average teenage boy in high school, it can transform a piece of Shakespeare from a dull story into the highlight of the day when done just right.

Getting students interested is the first step. Keeping them interested is the challenge. Good teachers have mastered this skill. If we are to value a well-educated society that is capable of making incremental improvements in the world, we must first find the value in our nation’s coaches, teachers and mentors. They are our first line of defense to poverty. They are our last line of defense to ignorance.

The passion I’m speaking of cannot be faked. Passion is rare. Passion is valuable. If you know a passionate teacher, thank them. Support them. Some day they will be supporting your children.

Today, I recognize Tim Nelson, the Passionate Teacher, coach, leader and friend.

Happy Birthday, Tim.

P.S. Thanks for the English writing skills.

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