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#1bigidea that shapes my practice

Image credit: Be Human Typography by Micu Radu. CC Licensed on Flickr
Image credit: Be Human Typography by Micu Radu. CC Licensed on Flickr

This was originally posted over at staffrm.io

Picking up the baton from Mark

What big idea has had the most influence on your practice?

“In ten years time they won’t remember what you taught them. But they will remember if you treated them like human beings” – Ian Dawson.

Where/when/how did you learn about it?

I think I’ve always been aware that I was lucky at school. I had the kind of brain that meant I could remember stuff I read, and I learned fairly easily. I had a heap of friends who had the kind of social skills I could only dream of, or had talents that didn’t line up with the way we were tested in school.

I’ve always tried to remember that underneath everything else, the students in front of me are young human beings with a whole bunch of other stuff going on, and on a five x one hour treadmill each day (have you ever done a student trail? If not, you really should. They’re eye opening). When Ian mentioned in passing the quote above (or something very similar) at at SHP Conference one year, it really rang a bell.

It’s not really a strategy, it just sits underneath the lessons I try to develop and the relationships I build with students.

What are the signs that it’s had such a big impact?

I’ve got nothing concrete. Just a sense that that’s the only kind of teacher I can be. I’ve had great feedback from students over the years, some of whom I’m still in contact with.

It doesn’t always work. On a rare night out with staff from school a couple of years ago we met some ex-students at the end of the night. One proceeded to tap me in the chest and tell the assembled multitudes I was the ‘worst f***king teacher I’ve ever had’.

Can’t win them all I suppose

Is it possible for people to misinterpret the idea?

I’m sure. I imagine it could be seen as an excuse to ‘go soft’ on students. I don’t think I was ever soft, although I do wonder if at times I didn’t have as higher expectations of some students as in hindsight I should. It’s one I think I need to keep in the balance.

Where would people go to find out more?

Their own memories of school?

Whom would I like to see answer these questions?

Please don’t wait to be tagged. If you’re reading this, consider your name here :0)

Dave Stacey

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