Friday, April 02, 2010

Exceptional educators create a student family

Washington Post columnist and blogger Jay Mathews writes about veteran teacher Frazier O'Leary's annual reunion for his Advanced Placement students. Mathews writes that O'Leary's reunions show that great teachers are not only classroom dynamos but also create a sense of family with students. One of O'Leary's former students said, "On many occasions he has served as a counselor, a mentor, a confidant, a friend and, even today, a parental figure for me. He has left an indelible imprint on my journey." The Washington Post/Class Struggle blog

Are you part of a great teacher's student family?
Washington Post blogger: Jay Mathews

I usually skip Frazier O’Leary’s annual Advanced Placement reunion. It’s always a Friday evening in December at the old Sumner School in downtown Washington on M Street, where parking is tough. But O’Leary, a veteran English teacher at Cardozo High School in the District, is a persuasive man. I had no good excuse last year, so there I was, reminded again of something about great teachers I rarely mention when I write about schools.

We know they can be dynamos in the classroom. They turn lessons into conversations. They know each student’s strengths and weaknesses. They care about results. They step in when weak students are being harassed by the strong. They create an oasis of calm and safety in schools that often have little of either.

All those traits are important. But at the O’Leary reunion, I remembered that great teachers also create a sense of family with their students that lasts for years, sometimes well beyond their deaths. read more

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