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Grace for Teachers and Students

Time to share a sermon. My qualifications to preach? I’m a former music teacher and school principal, and worked with thousands of great students, teachers, and families. I’m now at the pinnacle of my career in my roles as Gramps and Ozarks Vagabond.

Ozarks Vagabonds, Bob, Kerry, and me

When I was going through school, I developed some gaps in my learning. As I continued, some of these gaps got filled in, and some didn’t. I used to beat myself up and try to hide my learning gaps. That wasn’t helpful. I’ve come to realize that most of us have gaps, areas of strength, and areas of weakness. It’s kind of like being a human, and it’s OK. Sometimes we compensate for areas of weakness and get along just fine. Sometimes our weakness helps us understand others or seek help from others as we go along.

When teachers do their best under challenging circumstances, they deserve some grace. Teaching faster won’t result in faster learning. It doesn’t work that way. Gaps will be filled in gradually over time if teachers and kids continue to be engaged in good work.

A few things we can do….
Express gratitude to a teacher.
Give kids a pat on the back and words of encouragement.
Smile at kids (even teenagers) and tell them you’re thankful that they’re here.
Read to and/or with a kid.
Tell kids when you learn something new. Be sure you’re learning new stuff.
Tell kids they don’t have to be perfect. Emotional intelligence is more important than academic skills.

Thank you, teachers, for the immeasurable impact you have on our community. We’re thankful you’re here!

Implementation Dip

Thought of the implementation dip recently as I tried to begin this blog.  Though the story relates to photography, it applies across all disciplines.  Hope you enjoy.  Jim W

Most folks probably know I enjoy photography.  What they might not be aware of is the frustration of my early attempts with this hobby.

I’ve learned a lot about learning through photography.    When I first started trying to take photos using the manual settings with slide film I over or under exposed many photographs.  After having a roll of film developed, I would look at each slide and compare it with my notes that stated the shutter speed and aperture opening used.  This was a slow and often discouraging process.  On some rolls I might not get a single photo worth keeping. Over a period of months, and with help from books and other photographers, I found myself throwing away fewer slides and for me this was progress.

Any time you try something new, you experience what some call an “implementation dip”.  This is a normal part of learning and often discourages us from trying something new.   Had I not been willing to go through the “implementation dip” I would have missed out on the enjoyment of sharing photographs of our beautiful state with others.

As students and educators, we are all involved in learning new things.  This is exciting but also brings the challenge of going through “implementation dips”.  It is exciting to see students developing new skills.  Many of our teachers have implemented new strategies in their classrooms and have been willing to go through their own “implementation dips” to arrive at new and exciting levels of instruction that increase student learning.

When you’re tempted to give up on learning or trying something new, pause and realize that you may just be in the dip before success.  Hang in there and you’ll enjoy looking back on the progress you’ve made.

Without going through the implementation dip I would never have been able to capture or share this image.

Without going through the implementation dip I would never have been able to capture or share this image.

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