Ed­u­ca­tors Need A GGG Ap­proach

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - David Wilson

Years ago 3G tech­nol­ogy was a very de­sir­able up­grade for cell phones. (The term 3G of course, sim­ply meant third gen­er­a­tion wire­less tech­nol­ogy). To­day our phones uti­lize what the in­dus­try calls fourth gen­er­a­tion (4G) tech­nol­ogy, and the tech com­pa­nies say they are on sched­ule for phones to be 5G per­haps as early as 2018.

But this col­umn is not about tech­nol­ogy.

It is about 3G, yes, but it’s not about tech­nol­ogy.

That’s be­cause the 3G I speak of is sim­ply an acro­nym (GGG) to re­mem­ber three im­por­tant ap­proaches nec­es­sary in schools.

Those who work with stu­dents need to be giv­ing, need to be peo­ple of good cheer and must be com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing guid­ance and in­struc­tion to the next gen­er­a­tion.

Giv­ing, good cheer, and guid­ance are three items that just hap­pen to be­gin with a G. They also rep­re­sent a synop­sis of what the teach­ing pro­fes­sion is all about.

Let me ex­plain. Teach­ers are called upon to do much more than earn their salary. To do the job right, teach­ers and ad­min­is­tra­tors alike must be ex­tremely giv­ing — not in a fi­nan­cial sense — but in their level of ded­i­ca­tion.

Giv­ing for ed­u­ca­tors means they pour them­selves into their work. And they do it from deep down in­side, be­cause, quite sim­ply, a half­hearted ap­proach will never work in ed­u­ca­tion.

There is a story about three brick­lay­ers on a con­struc­tion site who had three dif­fer­ent per­spec­tives.

One said his work was about earn­ing a pay­check. A sec­ond one de­scribed his work as lay­ing brick.

When the third one was asked what he was do­ing, he re­sponded, “I’m build­ing a cathe­dral.”

Of all three out­looks, it is ob­vi­ous that the third brick­layer had a vi­sion of the fu­ture and re­al­ized his work had a great pur­pose.

Ed­u­ca­tion re­quires the same vi­sion, be­cause to pre­pare to­day’s stu­dents for to­mor­row’s world, teach­ers must be, in essence, “cathe­dral-builders.”

So­ci­ety can­not af­ford to have ed­u­ca­tors just col­lect­ing their pay. Their job is far too im­por­tant and re­quires a deep con­vic­tion and a sense of mis­sion.

The sec­ond G re­quired of ed­u­ca­tors (and for peo­ple in most pro­fes­sions) is good cheer.

When the work en­vi­ron­ment isn’t pleas­ant at a school, there is usu­ally more than one rea­son why, and one of those rea­sons could be that some of the teach­ers have grown dis­heart­ened, ir­ri­tated, sour or bit­ter.

When peo­ple give in to those feel­ings, toxic at­ti­tudes tend to spread through­out a school or a busi­ness or an or­ga­ni­za­tion or a church. Frankly, a dras­tic fall in morale can hap­pen any­where we al­low neg­a­tiv­ity to take root.

To pre­vent such a sce­nario, it is tremen­dously im­por­tant to ap­proach each day with good cheer and a de­sire to be up­lift­ing.

Ed­u­ca­tors are no dif­fer­ent than peo­ple in any pro­fes­sion. They must avoid the temp­ta­tion to be neg­a­tive, and should be pos­i­tive and en­cour­ag­ing to ev­ery­one there.

Dr. An­thony Muham­mad is a for­mer school ad­min­is­tra­tor who has writ­ten ex­ten­sively about the cul­ture of schools. He said that when peo­ple en­gage in what he calls “adult drama” at work, it can be detri­men­tal for ev­ery­one there.

In schools, he said “adult drama” can be even more prob­lem­atic be­cause it ul­ti­mately ends up hurt­ing chil­dren.

The fi­nal G means ed­u­ca­tors must be com­mit­ted to pro­vid­ing guid­ance and in­struc­tion to the learn­ers en­trusted to their care.

I like to think of teach­ers as guides be­cause be­ing a guide im­plies that they do much more than sim­ply cover ma­te­rial in class.

In fact, teach­ers are to guide stu­dents on to suc­cess in life, and that in­cludes far more than pro­vid­ing an aca­demic foun­da­tion.

Some writ­ers to­day have re­ferred to teach­ers be­ing ei­ther a “sage on the stage” or a “guide by the side.” Many teach­ers were tra­di­tion­ally the for­mer, pro­vid­ing much in­struc­tion in a lec­ture-type for­mat. To­day teach­ers must do more of the lat­ter, work­ing right along­side pupils, guid­ing them on their quest to learn.

When a teacher is very giv­ing, is a per­son of good cheer, and as­sumes the role of be­ing a “guide by the side,” it is not just a 3G acro­nym and it is not just a teach­ing style. It’s what our chil­dren need.

DAVID WILSON, EDD, OF SPRINGDALE, IS A WRITER, CON­SUL­TANT AND PRE­SEN­TER, WHO GREW UP IN ARKANSAS BUT WORKED 27 YEARS IN ED­U­CA­TION IN MIS­SOURI. YOU MAY E-MAIL HIM AT DWNOTES@HOT­MAIL.COM. THE OPIN­IONS EX­PRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AU­THOR.

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