“…the more you skillfully grow and mentor your team,
– Kyle Wilson, July 25,2014
Today’s post was inspired by Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, the man who inspired the movie “Rudy.” Surely you’ve seen the movie. (Read about it here.)
Released 20 years ago this month, “Rudy” is the inspiring story of a young man with a heart the size of a football field, a dream the size of planet earth and what happens amidst persistence, consistency, commitment, passion, loyalty, respect, and encouragement. The answer is: a series of unforgettable, life-changing experiences.
- Fortune: Hey kid! You’re not supposed to be here!
- Rudy: Hey this place is really something else huh? Someday I’m gonna come out of that tunnel and I’m gonna run onto this field.
- Fortune: Well it ain’t gonna be this day…
- Rudy: I’m here to play football for the Irish!
- Fortune: Coach Parseghian know about it?
- Rudy: No… not yet.
- Fortune: Well maybe you best tell him first…
Late in the story, Rudy is in his final year of athletic eligibility at Notre Dame. He has spent countless hours on the practice squad and he’s never suited up to play. With the final game of the season just days away, his dream is slipping away and his reservoir of hope is empty. So he does what ordinary people do. He quits! Well, almost.
Rudy is no ordinary person. He has earned the respect of many and built a substantial circle of influence. One of these within his circle is his mentor who intervenes with the following story of regret…
Fortune: I rode the bench for two years. Thought I wasn’t bein’ played because of my color. I got filled up with a lotta attitude. So I quit. Still not a week goes by I don’t regret it. And I guarantee a week won’t go by in your life you won’t regret walkin’ out, letting them get the best of ya. You hear me clear enough?
With hope restored, Rudy returns to the team. If you know the story, you can already see the smallest guy on the team standing in the tunnel next to the team captain, suited up and ready to enter the field.
Steele: Rudy, are you ready for this, champ?
Rudy: I’ve been ready for this my whole life!
Steele: Then you take us out on the field.
By the time you read this I will have enjoyed a day with the real Rudy. Here’s my prediction. The movie is great, but meeting the man in person will give his story greater relevance with my life. The experience will also top off my reservoir of hope. Best of all, this day will inspire me to ask game-changing questions like, “Do I have a Rudy’s heart-sized Impossible Mega-Dream?” and “What am I doing now to turn my dream into reality?” Here’s the easiest prediction of all. Before this day with Rudy, anticipation will inspire me to write about it on my blog.
“It’s Better to Build Boys than Mend Men”
— Samuel Truett Cathy (1921- ) founder of Chick-fil-A, author.
The ABC’s of Professionalism
Describing a teacher as “one who has a teaching certificate and works in a school” is incomplete and a slight against all others who contribute toward the development of people. Teachers are known by many names such as: mentor, tutor, trainer, advisor, counselor, leader, educator, coach, guide, role model, instructor, advisor, demonstrator, therapist, lecturer, rabbi, preacher, Jesus, supervisor, co-worker, friend, parent, relative, neighbor and author.
“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” — Charles W. Eliot
“And they were astonished at His teaching, for His word was with authority.” — Bible, Luke 4:32
In reality, everyone is a teacher and a developer of people in some capacity or another. Teachers are givers. When a teacher shares information with a student who receives and understands its meaning, learning has occurred.
“There are three things to remember when teaching: know your stuff; know whom you are stuffing; and then stuff them elegantly” — Lola May
Development is a special phenomenon of teaching that goes beyond learning. Transition from learning to development occurs when a teacher helps a student cross the threshold between “potential change” and “actual change” or between “knowledge” and “application.”
“Teaching is what you do to people; development happens within the individual. Teaching is an action; development is a process” — Gary Lear
“Education is not filling a pail but the lighting of a fire.” — William Butler Yeats
“The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” — Mark van Doren
This transformation is made possible through the expertise of caring teachers who share knowledge AND inspire students to creatively integrate it with their beliefs and behaviors.
“Change only occurs when the beliefs are impacted” — Gary Lear
“No man can be a good teacher unless he has feelings of warm affection toward his pupils and a genuine desire to impart to them what he believes to be of value.” — Bertrand Russell
For each of us, as teachers engaged in people-building activities, two questions need to be asked: “What impact can I have?” and “What kind of teacher should I be?”
“Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions.” — Anonymous
Because learning and development beyond learning are critical to personal and societal success, millions of people train for years and make a lifelong commitment to teaching and learning. What about the rest? How can we all become a more effective teachers? What kind of teaching model should be adopted by a professional who is not a career teacher? Three words come to mind: enlighten, engage and empower.
Enlightenment is the intellectual dimension of development that presents new information and processes then challenges the student to consider the relevance of both the old and new information as it relates to experiences and current situations. Some would call this “learning to think outside your box.”
“I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” — Socrates
“Real education must ultimately be limited to men who insist on knowing, the rest is mere sheep-herding.” — Ezra Pound
“We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself.”— Lloyd Alexander
“The teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom but rather leads you to the threshold of your mind.”— Kahlil Gibran
This is the action dimension that creates opportunities for experiences to apply the new information, philosophies and processes so as to produce new and improved results. Some would connect this to the enlighten dimension by saying, “This is where the rubber meets the road.”
“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.”— Chinese Proverbs
“The two most engaging powers of an author are to make new things familiar, familiar things new.”— William Makepeace Thackeray
“We can teach from our experience, but we cannot teach experience.” — Sasha Azevedo
“Play is the beginning of knowledge.” — Anonymous
“Every extension of knowledge arises from making the conscious the unconscious.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“Not to engage in the pursuit of ideas is to live like ants instead of like men.” — Mortimer Adler
This is the emotional dimension. With help from an inspiring teacher, a learner discovers his desire to continue developing and applying new information and processes until they become a new pattern. In response, confidence builds and momentum increases causing real and lasting change to occur.
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” — William Arthur Ward
“A master can tell you what he expects of you. A teacher, though, awakens your own expectations.” — Patricia Neal
“The best teacher is the one who suggests rather than dogmatizes, and inspires his listener with the wish to teach himself.” — Edward Bulwer-Lytton
“Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily.” — Thomas Szasz
“In motivating people, you’ve got to engage their minds and their hearts. I motivate people, I hope, by example – and perhaps by excitement, by having productive ideas to make others feel involved.” — Rupert Murdoch
Enlighten, engage and empower are interdependent dimensions of a comprehensive personal and professional development approach. Enlightenment points the way, but by itself has no action. Engagement and empowerment without enlightenment produces directionless action. Empowerment breathes the life of momentum into enlightenment and engagement. All three legs are needed for development that goes beyond learning.
Understanding this framework is helpful in selecting an effective teacher. More importantly, adopting them will help you as a professional more effectively fulfill your teaching responsibilities. Take a moment to reflect on the many ways you help teach and develop those who are under your care. Then consider specific ways the Three E’s can help you become a more effective teacher. In closing, here are more thoughts about teaching, learning and development beyond learning.
“You can teach a dog new tricks for rewards, but developing a better-natured dog will require patience and a want on the behalf of the dog to change.” — Gary Lear
“The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer” — Alice Wellington Rollins
“The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.” — Sydney J. Harris
“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”— Oliver Wendell Holmes
“The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called ‘truth.’” — Dan Rather
“The best teachers teach from the heart, not from the book.” — Anonymous
“You do not get out of a problem by using the same consciousness that got you into it.” — Attributed to Albert Einstein
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”— Alvin Toffler
© Copyright December 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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