Friday, June 1, 2012

Teaching from the Heart

What are the virtues of a good teacher? That was the question that we were asked this past Wednesday, by a donor that came to our school and spent a few hours walking into classes and talking to some of our staff.

We explained that the virtues of a good teacher are very similar to these of a good student, as teachers are on a constant journey of learning.

I added that these virtues can be found in the list of 16 habits of mind:

• Persisting
• Thinking and Communicating with Clarity and Precision
• Managing Impulsivity
• Gathering Data Through all Senses
• Listening with Understanding and Empathy
• Creating, imagining and Innovation
• Thinking Flexibly
• Responding with Wonderment and Awe
• Thinking about Thinking (Metacognition)
• Taking Responsible Risks
• Striving for Accuracy
• Finding Humor
• Questioning and Posing Problems
• Thinking Interdependently
• Applying Past Knowledge to New Situations
• Remaining Open to Continuous Learning

As we started to walk around the school the eyes of the donor lit up - he actually saw these habits in our classrooms. We walked by the first grade (who were having lunch at that time) and I explained how our teachers create, imagine, innovate and connect the book of Bamidbar (Numbers) with a great math lesson on census.

We hopped over to fourth grade to look at the pie charts on the wall connecting self awareness and math. Then we moved to the explorers' unit where our fourth graders learn to see history through a variety of lenses, thinking flexibly and interdependently.

Just before our meeting ended Sarah Shay Davidson grabbed us by the sleeve and took us to her room. She showed our donor who had a major interest in linguistics the wonders of technology in her Hebrew classroom.

Once we left the room the donor approached me and said, "There was one habit missing in your list." "What is that?" I asked. "Excitement" he said. "Did you see how she (Sarah Shay Davidson) sat on the chair? Just like a middle school student? She REALLY loves her profession and is excited about it!"

When we ask God to give us the wisdom to teach in שחרית (the morning service,) we ask that this wisdom be imparted by God into our heart. Heart and not mind.  This is where passion and excitement are born.

1 comment:

  1. It was a pleasure to read Dr. Resnick's blog on 'Teaching from the Heart'. The attributes and habits of mind make much sense. It was nice to see this donor get a first hand look into some of the classrooms and being impressed with what was seen at KSA. Special mention to the 4th grade classes of math and exploration, and of course great job to Sarah Shay Davidson. Everyone keep up the great work