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Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Steve Almond’s “The Gift of a Great Teacher”

Below are a couple excerpts I found particularly poignant from the Connections column in March 23rd’s Globe Magazine. (Check it out at
 http://www.bostonglobe.com/magazine/2014/03/22/what-great-teachers/vmeEwseIKWDxgvGNywNgjK/story.html.) Almond reflects on his experience as both a student and a teacher. (Then I’ll add my two cents…)

 “A good teacher, after all, wields the authority of a parent with none of the psychological baggage. The best of them are semi-mysterious figures whose wisdom seems boundless and whose approval helps us discover who we are.”

“Teaching, especially at the primary and secondary levels, isn't about giving grandiose speeches or playing the Svengali. It’s about managing classrooms full of kids at very different places intellectually, emotionally, and psychologically. It’s about prepping students for standardized tests when you'd rather be fostering their imaginations. Most of all, it’s about the thousands of small acts of attention, of encouragement and guidance and discipline, by which a teacher transmits his [or her] passion for learning to his [or her] charges. Standing before a class, you have to portray your best self – fair, patient, wise – for hours on end.”

This year Teacher Appreciation Day is May 6th, but it’s never too early or too late to thank a teacher who inspired you or your child(ren). Melrose is fortunate to have so many excellent teachers – slip one of them a note soon – you’ll make their day!