Guest Blogger Dr. Hal Urban writes on "Reaching 'em to Teach 'em"
August 15, 2014
We hope you enjoy part 1 of this three part blog by Dr. Hal Urban.
Have a great week,
... the CSCL
“If you can reach ‘em, you can teach ‘em” is one of the wisest statements I’ve heard during all my years (49) as an educator. It came from Dr. Tom McSweeney, the professor in my first graduate course in education at the University of San Francisco way back in the 1960s. He said he didn’t know who had said it originally. It had been passed down to him as an “educational proverb.” And he used it to introduce what he considered to be the starting place of good teaching – a good relationship between the teacher and the students. “If you can reach ‘em, you can teach ‘em.” If you can connect with your students, if you can relate to them, if they know you care about them, they’ll listen to you. They’ll let you teach them.
Everything I did, especially in the first two weeks of school, was aimed at building good relationships with my students and helping them build good relationships with each other. My number one goal was to build a Caring Community in my classroom – one in which my students felt welcome, safe, and connected to both me and to their classmates. It all started before they even walked into the room.
The most important thing I ever did as a teacher was to individually welcome each student as he or she entered my classroom. I was outside standing by the door, and greeted them the same way I would greet a good friend coming into my home. My classroom was my professional home, and I wanted them to know that I was glad to see them. I did this every day, every period (5 per day).
There were 150 individual greetings per day, 750 per week, 6750 per quarter, 13500 per semester, and about 27,000 per average school year...