Sentences to Ponder

Emma Brown in the Washington Post:

A growing number of California teachers have started driving for Uber on weekends and in the evenings, the Nation reported this month. In San Francisco, the average teacher would have to spend two-thirds of her salary to afford the city’s astronomical median rent of $3,500, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The “Secret” to Success

Apart from my good looks, unusual charm, and cardiovascular health, there’s nothing exceptional about me. I did well in school and I’ve done okay in life for one primary reason. Growing up I had a gaggle of caring adults around me who I didn’t want to disappoint. Teachers, older siblings, coaches, mom and dad, youth pastors, family friends, mom and dad.

Most kids who do poorly in school and/or life are just as capable as I was, they simply lack the network of supportive, caring adults. “If no one gives a shit,” they often end up thinking, “why should I?”

The Answer gets it:

“That’s the only thing that got me here is my teammates. My teammates and my coach. That’s the only reason I’m here. All those guys sacrificed their game and sacrificed different things for me to be honored like this and what I’ve done. Without them, it wouldn’t have happened. Without my coaches putting me in a position to succeed … Larry Brown molded me into an MVP and a Hall of Fame player. Without those guys I wouldn’t be here. Without those guys, man. I didn’t do this by myself, man. It was so many people, so many fans that came in there and cheered for me, night in and night out. So many people supported me and believed in me. They made it so easy for me to believe in myself because I didn’t want to let them down. I wanted my fans and my family and my friends to be proud of me.



Wisdom From a Life of Teaching Piano

Behold my favorite teaching essay of recent vintage from the unlikeliest of publications. Thank you Byron Janis for the perfectly timed reminders about what teaching excellence entails. If you teach, coach, or parent, this is a concise treasure trove of insight. He writes:

“To me, the most important challenge a teacher must confront is keeping an open mind. One must convey knowledge and artistry without overpowering a student’s sense of self. That talented ‘self’ can develop only when he or she is not over-taught. One must know when to teach and when not to teach.”

And when to coach and when not to coach. And when to parent and when not to parent. It’s the very rare teacher, coach, or parent who avoids overpowering their students’, athletes’, or sons’ and daughters’ varied senses of self.

“During the course of my instruction Horowitz also made a very important point. ‘You want to be a first Janis—not a second Horowitz.'”

“. . . talented students must be taught that they are not only pianists but artists, and to create, not imitate. They should be shown that inspiration comes from living, experiencing and observing life, the real as well as the imagined.”

Twenty to thirty years ago, schooling in the United States shifted focus to standardization of curriculum, teaching “best practices”, of most everything. Consequently, we don’t foster creativity very well. Not only do the arts suffer, but our culture. Janis’s radical musings point a way forward.