FranklinCovey Consultant Blogs | Durelle Price | May, 2009
Exemplary teachers are the personification of The 8th Habit—they find their voices while helping their students find theirs. Henry Adams said “A teacher affects eternity. He (she) can never tell where his (her) influence stops.” These educators merit recognition for transcending the norm. As I write, Education is morphing; placing increased barriers between teaching and learning. The word “education” comes from the Latin word “educare” which translates: “…to draw forth from within.” That is truly the challenge for today’s educators who are faced each day with, among other challenges, state regulated testing, which often forces them into a vicious cycle of repetition and regurgitation: a situation wherein neither the teacher or the student is sincerely engaged.
Yet, award-winning teachers awake each day excited about their opportunity to change lives. Anthony J. Mullen, National Teacher of the Year 2009, advises “passion… ignites a flame too bright to be ignored by students. …Students can feel the energy, enthusiasm, and creativity radiating from a teacher and realize that what is being taught is important and worthwhile.” Passion—the fire within as Stephen Covey puts it—cannot coexist with apathy. Extraordinary tea
chers care about their students and the futures of those they serve. They are unselfish advocates who, like Mullen according to his peers, approach their work with extraordinary effort, a commitment to serving youth, professionalism, high expectations, humor, a flexible cooperative attitude, and a smile on their faces.
When I was a teen, I had two teachers, Mrs. McDowell and Mrs. Evers, whom I remember very fondly. I loved to make them laugh. Mrs. Dowell’s laugh was contagious. She was kind, attentive, and generous with encouragement. She had a never-ending well of patience and tolerance for those of us who were less than mainstream students. Mrs. Evers was a fun and engaging young teacher, not much older than our big-hair-wearing, disco dancing, motley crew. She took her job very seriously, but with a measure of humor and forgiveness. When the coffee in the teachers’ lounge was spiked with liqueur and the principal’s announcements more slurred than usual, Mrs. Evers looked no further than me for the culprit. After the proper reprimand in front of her peers, she leaned down to my ear and whispered, “That was quite a hoot, young lady! Dangerous, definitely inappropriate, but dang funny!”
I have the profound privilege of certifying such dedicated teachers in The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens curriculum. Increasingly impressed with the quality of the educators I certify, I find them to be student-centered professionals who view teaching more as a calling than a career. Those who are called to teach recognize the breadth of influence their role grants and are continually seeking to improve their knowledge base and to model behaviors which are worthy of emulation. For this reason, over 4500 schools nationwide and beyond (click here to watch a video) have turned to The 7 Habits training as their choice for principle-centered, productivity and leadership enhancement.
Having a small role in developing educators of Mrs. Dowell and Mrs. Evers’ caliber is quite an honor and a personal accomplishment for me of which I know they would both be proud. Despite my mischievous pranks, between their influence and The 7 Habits training, I guess I turned out okay (smile…snicker).