Friday, June 18, 2010

Notes from It Doesn't Take a Genius

McCutcheon, R. and Lindsey, T. (2006). It Doesn’t Take a Genius: Five Truths to Inspire Success in Every Student. New York: McGraw-Hill.

I am preparing to write a research paper on teaching respect in the classroom. I read an intriguing book yesterday and today. Thank you, Randy and Tommie for sharing your knowledge and experiences with me.

Here are some quotes that I found especially useful:

“The single most important thing in teaching is to set high expectations for the students or, as our authors explain, be their first believer.” (Forward p. viii, Dr. John Sexton, President, New York University)

“A teacher changes the lives of children one child at a time.”
“Tommie and I believe that all children are gifted and, at the same time, at risk.” (Preface p. xiv, Randall McCutcheon)

Teach P’s and Q’s: “Tommie’s students made a point of thanking me after every coaching session.” Preface p. xv, Randall McCutcheon)

Like your job: “Teaching rewards those of us willing to pay the price. Any teacher worth his or her weight in chalk dust or dry eraser pen will tell you the same.”
“What other job allows you to change thousands of lives? I’ve had the incredible privilege of helping kids discover one of the most important mysteries of life: who they are. Identity, sense of self, and self-esteem. These three interrelated ideas can make the difference in the development of a young mind.”
“It is amazing, the transformation that takes place when you encourage students to find their identity.”
“I became a teacher so that I could enable kids to find something within their lives that would assist them in learning their worth in society, and in life.”
“The voice is a window on the soul.” (Introduction p xviii, Tommie Lindsey)

“My appearance affected my self-esteem as well as how I performed as a student.”
“The fact that my clothing was tattered was a devastating barrier to my ability to learn.”
“Take away the barriers to learning, and an awakening will occur.”
“If you help students remove or face the obstacles in their lives, they will soar.” (Introduction p xix, Tommie Lindsey)
“I’m here to make a difference.”
“I know, deep in my heart and soul, that I was meant for this life. A teacher is born to teach.” (Introduction p xx, Tommie Lindsey)
Believe in yourself. Believe in each student. “You cannot teach effectively if you do not first believe in yourself. Morever, you must then believe in the potential of each child. A child must feel “needed in this world.” (p.2, Randall McCutcheon)

“The poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti was right: the world is not always a ‘beautiful place to be born into.’ As parents and teachers, we must change that world. One child at a time.” (p.3, Randall McCutcheon)
“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less that you settled for.” (Maureen Dowd, p. 7, Tommie)
“It takes not only love and determination but also belief to reach all students.” (p. 8, Tommie Lindsey)

“Those of us who came to Mr. Lindsey, to the team, overflowing with love, confidence, hope, and discipline, worked with him to fill up our teammates who came with insufficient supplies of those critical components of success.” (p. 11, Miriam Nalamunsi, Tommie’s student)

“A well-informed teacher who doesn’t resort to scare tactics or needless exaggeration.”
“Reality teaching…is about telling students the truth.”
Build relationships of trust: “Students need to see you as a real person and not just someone playing the role of teacher. Personal revelations bring people closer together. Trust is built.” (p. 14, Randall McCutcheon)

Use criticism constructively. (p. 16)

“He was ashamed that he was imitating someone different than he.” (p. 17, Yasmin Mashhoon, Randy’s student)

“The right professor can change the life of a child.” (p. 21, Randall McCutcheon)

“Thirty years ago, when I was still young, the three most important institutions for promoting good—the home, the school, and the churches—all had a major responsibility. The home was to set the parameters. The church was to establish ethics. The schools were to teach.”
“The responsibility of setting parameters, then, is now on us as teachers. In other words, we’ve become the patchers of human soulds.” (pp. 23, 24, Tommie Lindsey)

Build confidence.
Validate each student: “The patch that she needed for her spirit was validation—something to sustain her until she could move to the next stage of her life.” (p. 25, Tommie Lindsey)

Shy guys: “The painfully shy need immediate attention. Painfully shy students usually are excessively self-conscious.” (p. 30, Randall McCutcheon)

1. Create a supportive classroom environment.
2. Teach in small steps when possible.
3. Provide blueprints to help students know what is expected.
4. Have former speech class students provide demonstrations to increase belief in oneself.
5. Give students time to think. (pp. 30, 31, Randall McCutcheon)

“All of the students who walk into my classroom have improbable dreams. For them, the odds must seem overwhelmingly against them. My job is to change the odds.” (p. 36, Tommie Lindsey)

“Students must learn that honesty often comes with a price to pay.” (p. 41, Randy McCutcheon)

Be a teacher that safeguards individuality and self-worth. “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.” (Mark Twain, p. 42)

“It turns out that he did think my idea was brilliant, and, because of this, I began to thin my idea was brilliant.” ( p. 45, Chris Marianetti, Randy’s student)

“When teachers expect students to do well and demonstrate intellectual growth, they do; when teachers do not have these expectations, performance and growth suffer.”
“Rosenthal found significant spurts in intellectual growth in elementary-age students when more was expected of them. Students who were expected to succeed at a higher level demonstrated marked improvement. Students in the control group fell behind.” (p. 48, Randall McCutcheon)

“The self-refilling prophecy is a term I coined to describe what students should say to themselves to struggle out of their cocoons successfully.” (pp. 48, 49, Randall McCutcheon)

You are safe with me: “I always believed that it is the responsibility of teachers to provide an environment that is safe for kids. That safety means not only physical safety but also the safety necessary to promote learning. Students should feel safe from one another and feel that they can express their views without fear of ridicule or being ostracized.”
“When students find the classroom to be a safe environment, they express their beliefs and feelings freely.” (p 53, Tommie Lindsey)

“When students are allowed to open up and become themselves, they are able to build the self-esteem that some …students never attain.” (p. 54, Tommie Lindsey)
“A person’s worth is the value of his ability to do good for others.” (p. 54, Nicholas Parrilla, Tommie’s student)

“If you want people to take you seriously, then you must take yourself seriously.” (p. 58, Randall McCutcheon)

“Success in life shouldn’t be about getting satisfaction—it should be about earning it.” (p. 61, Randall McCutcheon)

“Our efforts at improving self-esteem have not increased academic progress. Clearly, we want students to believe in themselves. What we don’t want is the indiscriminate promoting of self-esteem in students just for being themselves.” (p 62, Randall McCutcheon)

Work is for everyone, every day. This brings self-esteem and self-respect.
“Teaching students that working hard pays off is what we should do. We must lead, not mislead.”
“A sense of humor helps.”
“Can we ever change our society’s obsession with being number one? Probably not. But we can try, one student at a time.” (p. 63, Randall McCutcheon)

“You have to be willing to fail to succedd. And it’s helpful to pull out a big goofy smie from time to time.” (p. 65, Jason Wesbecher, Randy’s student)

“While kids must be academically responsible, more important, they are encouraged to believe in themselves.”
“It is imperative that they carry themselves in a way that is respectful. The old adage is that the first impression is the lasting impression.” (p. 68, Tommie Lindsey)

“In a world that is fiercely competitive, I teach my students that the first impression is so poignantly important because, oftentimes, they don’t get a second chance.” (p. 69, Tommie Lindsey)

“Being a winner is not only about being ready for the moment but being poised and composed throught the entire process.” (p. 70, Steve Kuo, Tommie’s student)

“Even though being a classy person does not revolve around being a well-dressed person, it helps. I always found that whenever I wore my suit, I could take on the world. The very apprearnace of a high school student dressed up like a lawyer, politician, or news anchor creates an image of prestige and class within not only the judge’s mind but your own. It provides confidence coupled with a degree of maturity that one doesn’t get wearing a T-shirt and sweats.” (p. 72 Aman Grewal, Tommie’s student)

“Once in a lifetime does a student come across a teacher who recognizes the specific potential in each of his or her students by making a concerted effort to get to know the student as an individual and not a statistic, race, or gender.” (p. 74 Kendal Slocum, Tommie’s student)

Will you be that teacher?
“Thoreau, as you may remember, advised, ‘Aim above morality. Be not simply good. Be good for something.” (p. 75, Randall McCutcheon)

Help students recognize their inner voice: “A true transcendentalist trusts his or her inner voice.”
“I don’t need to outline a long list of rules for students to rebel against. They know the difference between right and wrong.”
“We operate on the same rule that my grandma used with me: Don’t do anything that would disappoint me.” (p. 76, Randall McCutcheon)

Respect is #1 Rule

“When my teachers and classmates respected me for carrying myself with class and dignity unlike some of my friends, I understood what Mr. Linsey was talking about…there is always someone watching, waiting for you to mess up, so you must always aim higher.” (p. 77, Di’Jonn Grizzell, Tommie’s student)

“It was merely who he was—a person who elevates the world by believ8ing in its young people, sharing himself with each of us and then daring us to be great.” (p. 78, Joseph Riley Whitfield, Jr., Tommie’s student)

“Randy was teaching me that while it would be great to win the tournament, and maybe I would (I didn’t), we were really there to have fun.” (p. 81 Chris Dusseault, Randy’s student)

The process of learning can be even greater than a one-time win.
“There are many times when the best thing I can do is make people smile. Make people relax. Make people laugh. Restore their perspective. I honestly believe that doin so enables us all to work harder, focus better, and win. Plus it’s a heck of a lot more fun.” (p. 82 Chris Dusseault, Randy’s student)

Teach common sense. (p. 84, Tommie Lindsey)

“When someone take the time to listen and to reach out, it is my responsibility to make sure that I have the common sense to appreciate what they do and then pass it on to others.” (p. 85, Tafari Walston, Tommie’s student)

“She stated, ‘I’m not leaving this program. I have a right to be on this team.’ In what I believed to be a very calm manner, I let her know that no one has that right. It is a privilege to participate in the program.” (p. 92, Tommie Lindsey)

“There is nothing wrong with being different as long as a person can remain tasteful, generous, disciplined, and good-hearted. People get better responses from other people when they search for the sincerity…I made a point to be much nicer to him and embrace him as a teammate—and I got a better response from him. The more he noticed my kinder approach to him, the more he engaged in conversation with me. I finally got the response that I wanted from Bonan. All because I respected him, and he, in turn, respected me.” (p. 93, Nicholas Parrilla, Tommie’s student)

“No one provided service…2001.” (p. 98, Cherie Johnson, Tommie’s student)

“If a teacher is effective, class will never be dismissed for a student.” (98)

“Classy people are those who determine their own human worth and express that worth through every action.” (pp. 98, 99, Paul Baldo, Tommie’s student)

“Determining one’s worth is vital to living a classy life.” (100)
“Through Mr. Lindsey’s example, I have been able to live a classy life. I can admit when I am wrong, but I can also stall tall with my head up and confront someone whey they are incorrect. For me, Mr. Lindsey’s class is never dismissed because I am always confronted by situations that require looking back at the
lessons learned in Room 408 for guidance.” (p. 100, Paul Baldo, Tommie’s student)

“Mr. Lindsey taught us that you have to just educate people, but without being rude or lashing out.” (p. 101, Kelly Metters, Tommie’s student)

“His repetitive mantras, ‘conduct yourselves as champions’, ‘with class,’ and ‘educate people,’ began to sink in.” (p. 102, Kelly Metters, Tommie’s student)
Teachers must be nurturers. “The spirit blooms where it is nurtured.” (p. 103, Tommie Lindsey)

“All students face heartbreaks…Each student must choose to face the world with ‘glints of courage and laughter.’” (p. 104, Tommie Lindsey)

“Life is not a matter of winning or losing, or how long or short you have on this planet, or how rich or poor you are. Life is about finding your passion.” (p. 105, Eric Fogel, Tommie’s student)

“Students must learn that humility is a virtue. I try to help them understand that (1) they should do the best they can without the need for recognition and (2) they must treat everyone with respect.” (p. 110, Randall McCutcheon)

“Pride makes us artificial and humility makes us real.” (Thomas Merton, p. 112)

“The reason for the lasting popularity of 60 Minutes was the show’s success in ‘making interesting what is important.’” (p. 116, Randall McCutcheon)

“Understanding words frees the mind of a child from ignorance.” (pp. 119, 120, Tommie Lindsey)

“Communication does matter.” (p. 120, Tommie Lindsey)

“Are words more powerful than a gun? Without a doubt! Words can destroy a dream, murder an imagination, and devour a future. Used properly, and fueled by an honest and compassionate heart, words can inspire greatness beyond measure.”
“I have place a very high standard on the words I choose.”
“The words I selct have the power to make someone’s day brighter, to solve someone’s problem, or to change someone’s life. Such awesome ability to affect others is far too important to take cavalierly.” (p. 121, Sam Ransom, Tommie’s student)

Speak gently
“Booker T. Washington wrote, ‘Through the power of words and actions, we make people stronger or weaker. We lift people up, or we drag them down.’ My hope is that all of my students were at some time lifted.” (p. 122, Tommie Lindsey)

“All teachers have weaknesses: unfamiliarity with certain parts of the curriculum, the inability to relate to certain personality types, not wanting to carefully correct papers. Even great teachers have the not-so-great moments. The key to overcoming these shortcomings is to find your ‘Bob.” Someone you can bring into the classroom to do what you don’t do so well..Whatever it takes to help students maximize their potential, though, is what has to be done.” (p. 128, Randall McCutcheon)

“I believe that many students miss out on the joy of reading because they stop hearing voices. As they grow older, they no longer allow themselves to imagine a unique speaking voice for each character in a book.” (p. 131, Randall McCutcheon)

“If we fail to teach students how to interpret literature orally, then we are taking away much of the fun of reading.” (p. 132, Randall McCutcheon)

“To me, epiphanies are moments of clarity. When you suddenly notice your vision has sharpened; everything and everyone is a clear crisp image. You know that where you are at that moment is where you are supposed to be.”
“Randy didn’t let anyone laugh.”
“His sincerity and praise gave me permission to think I was capable and talented, that I had something worth sharing.” (p. 135, Lanna Joffrey, Randy’s student)

“The way a person speaks in public is intimately tied to one’s self-image and self-confidence.” (p. 138, Tommie Lindsey)

“Self-expression is about more than simple persuasion. Healthy self-expression requires trust and respect. Trust and respect are earned by what we do.” (p. 139, Tommie Lindsey)

“Epiphanies—those singular moements of clarity when by some divine intervention, it all makes sense.” (p. 141, Paresh Kakan, Tommie’s student)

The I-Get-So Bored Address
(with apologies to one of our tallest presidents)

Nobody kept score and many cheers ago, our poor teachers brought forth the concept, conceived in mediocrity, that all students are created equal and therefore need only be “equally creative.”

Now we are engaged in a back-to-basics bedlam. We have made our bedlam, but it is the students who must lie in it. Therefore, it is altogether fitting and proper that we should stop lying.

But in a larger sense, we can no longer demonstrate, we can no longer educate, we can no longer create in the classroom. The brave minds, dead and dying, who struggled there, may never create, but they can add and subtract. True, the world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but generations of students will be forced to memorize it verbatim and pass a true-false test.

And so it is rather for us the thinking to abhor the dead minds and spreading behinds with our last full measure of revulsion; that we here highly resolve that there mus be a new birth of free thinking, and that the creativity of the students, by the students and for the students, shall not perish from education. (P. 144, Tommie Lindsey)

“I discovered the true meaning of glossophobia. Real fear will make you gloss over anything.” (p. 146, Randall McCutcheon)

“No student should leave high school without overcoming the fear of public speaking. Furthermore, each student should learn how to present ideas in a clear and meaningful way. To reach this goal, teachers need to design numerous lesson plans that require oral presentations. Meaningful feedback is a must.”
“[Charles] Osgood said, ‘Have you ever been driving at night and come upon a deer frozen in the beam of your headlights? Here’s my theory. The deer thinks the lights are spotlights, and what has it paralyzed is stage fright. It imagines the worst. It has to give a speech.’” (p. 148, Randall McCutcheon)

“There are two things the average person can do. The first is to make an instant joke. In other words, the spoit-second you are aware of your anxiety, you should say a one-liner (to yourself) and then quickly refocus your attention on the subject of your speech…The second thing for never speakers to try is grinning. For most people, smiling confindently and being nervous are incompatible physiological responses…smiling when confronting the systems of fear is immediately calming.” (pp. 150, 151, Randall McCutcheon)

“One of the most important lessons for students to learn is to ask an expert. Experts provide the focus and direction necessary to launch any project.” (p.154, Randall McCutcheon)

Help students make their own choices. (p. 159)

“The winning combination in persuasive communication should be an honest, positive message, hard work, and caring for your audience—in short, being a good person speaking well.” (p. 163, Randall McCutcheon)

Teach love of reading. “Students who do not read do not develop their reading skills. Frustrated by their inability to learn, these students read less and less.” (p. 168, Randall McCutcheon)

Look up the following poetry books: “Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s ‘The World is a Beautiful place,’ Sharon Olds’s ‘Topography,’ Leonard Cohen’s ‘The Music Crept by Us,’ and E.E. Cumming’s ‘nobody loses all the time’.” (p. 171, Randall McCutcheon)
How do I make my students feel? (p. 173)

“The ‘authenticating-words’ role that actions play makes actions more important than words.”
“Words require actions for authentication, not the other way around, once again establishing that actions truly speak louder than words.” P. 174, Tommie Lindsey)
“individuals are judged before anything comes out of their mouths. Therefore, it is important to look confident.” (p. 175, Tommie Lindsey)

“In seeking success, students sometimes get in their own way. They don’t tacle opportunities without a nudge in the right direction. These students have need developed the work ethic they need to succeed.” (p. 180, Randall McCutcheon)
“Successful writers find a way—a way that works for them.” (p. 181, Randall McCutcheon)

“Teachers must help students develop a strong work ethic. A work ethic that allows each student to achieve his or her dreams.” (p. 182, Randall McCutcheon)
“The first step, though, is to solve the mystery of each child’s giftedness.” (p. 184, Randall McCutcheon)

“There is something that is much more scarce, something finer far, something rarer than ability. It is the ability to recognize ability.” (Elbert Hubbard, p. 184)
“We all need to understand what we are striving for as teachers, with love in our hearts. Students need to prepare themselves by working hard enough to make success possible. Perfect is the goal.” (p. 185, Randall McCutcheon)

“One of the joys of teaching students from diverse backgrounds is that I hae come to know many types of cultural experiences, foods, and customs—experiences I would never have known otherwise. Each student has something to contribute to my teaching. In addition to becoming aware of their diversity, I meet students with different skill levels.” (pp. 189, 190, Tommie Lindsey)

“The lessons that children must learn to get into the school of their choice should start as soon as possible.” (p. 190, Andrew Fong, Tommie Lindsey’s student)
Status. “Grades and test scores matter only because they serve as a measure of how hard a person is willing to work academically. The important thing is the work, not some silly letter or number that no one will remember in a few years’ time.”
“A strong work ethic, general honesty, and all those other things associated with one’s character matter far more than any test or score.” (p. 191, Andrew Fong, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“My respect for authority and teaching began to dwindle. The main reason was because no one really cared about me as a person.” (p. 193, Yiuven Chang, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“I explained to him that a couple of teachers had completely embarrassed me in class. One thought that I was taking over the class with my questions, and the other was a teached who yelled at me in front of the class because I came in from the bathroom late.” (p. 194. Yiuven Chang, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“If you do not procrastinate or take shortcuts, you will excel.”
“A strong work ethic builds character and allows you to deal with the unexpected.” (p. 199, Jean Kuei, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“We were actually learning the rhythm of a strong work ethic—one that could only yield fruitful results with discipline, time, focus, and constant practice.” (p. 200, Jamie Walker, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“Make everything that you do and every place you enter to speak a holy place. Always leave that space more holy than when you first came.” (p. 201, Jamie Walker, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“There are no shortcuts in life. You have to take your time to get the job done well to get the best results. You may stumble, you may fall, but you have to pick yourself up and move forward in order to continue the journey.” (p. 203, Tommie Lindsey)

“People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can’t find them, they make them.” (George Bernard Shaw, p. 205)

“He eliminated the burden of excuses.” (p. 206, Paul Baldo, Tommie Lindsey’s student)
“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.” (Napoleon Bonaparte, p. 207)

Respect. “I feel that it is very important for me to command, rather than demand, respect in the classroom. On the other hand, I always make certain that students leave on a positive note after any scolding. That can be the beginning of unmaking mistakes.” (p. 208, Tommie Lindsey)
Reproving betimes with sharpness…..

“Experience is simply the name we give our own mistakes.” (p. 210, Oscar Wilde)

“Students should never be treated as if they are stupid. The teacher’s challenge is to help them ‘get smart just in time.’ Working smart is really about making good choices.” (p. 213, Randall McCutcheon)

“Each choice made is limiting in its consequences….too many students are force to specialize too soon. The education of a child should be a sampling process. If passion for a particular activity develops along the way, honor that. But gently prod the child to pursue other possibilities at the same time. Another possibility, after all, might be the smarter choice.” (p. 214, Randall McCutcheon)

“Working smart—for most people—requires a plan.” (p. 215, Randall McCutcheon)

“Randy’s lesson became crystal clear: know the task at hand. Choose a strategy that allows you to complete that task. Then execute. In short, work smart. Let the sheep live.” (p. 218, David Ball, Randall McCutcheon’s student)

Family History. “In his book You Don’t Look 35,Charlie Brown!, Schultz shared what he said: ‘I am not one to give advice and always hesitated to do so with my own children, but tonight I am going to give some advice that is very important.’ He then told them to go home and begin asking their parents about their pasts. ‘Don’t stop until you have learned something about your father’s first job or you mother’s early dreams. It will take energy, but it will be infinitely worthwhile, and it must be done now. It must be done before it is too late.’” (p. 222, Randall McCutcheon)
Learn to listen. Teach how to listen. “Are we hard of hearing or hard of listening?” (p. 222, Randall McCutcheon)

“Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it.” (Helen Keller, p. 225)

“When people are there to support you and provide comfort, it is your duty to do the same and hold these people near.” P. 227, Frederick Pugh III, Randall McCutcheon’s student)

“I would remind them of E.L. Doctorow’s advice: ‘good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader—not the fact that it’s raining but the feeling of being rained upon.’” (p. 229, Randall McCutcheon)

When Randy’s grandmother remembered something of the devastation her husband told her of at Hiroshima, she said, “The steel girders were broken as easily as matchsticks.” Randy “had the first image needed to write a poem.” When his grandmother “recalled that Roosevelt died the day [his] father sailed,” he then “had the title for the poem.” (p. 230, Randall McCutcheon)

“Life is not as simple as it once seemed.” (p. 233, Randall McCutcheon)
“Students soon learn that success exacts a price. You can’t simple wander the halls like some meander-thal.” (p. 234, Randall McCutcheon)

“If love is the answer, could you rephrase the question?” (Lily Tomlin, p. 235)
“My grandfather was not a work-a-holic but a work-a-philic. He loved to work, and he shared that love.” (p. 236 Kate Van Devender, Randy’s student)

“But how do you get people to love what they do?’s simply a matter of creating an environment in which students are given permission to chuckle or chortle or even cackle. And, it turns out, it’s good for you.” (p. 236, Randall McCutcheon)
“Students must learn that the love they have for what they do should not be at the expense of others. Passion without compassion is meaningless.” (p. 239, Randall McCutcheon)

Life’s most urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” (Martin Luther King, Jr., p. 239)

“How many times does the first snow of the season fall? How many times does the sun rise during your lifetime? How many times do you hug someone and feel as if nothing is wrong with the world? There are a thousand miracles a day—a multitude of things that happen without us paying them much thought, but every once in a while, we stop and go, ‘Wow, that was amazing.’ Or at least I hope we do.” (p. 241, Andrew Fong, Randy’s student)

“Choices do matter. Students need to understand the power of association. A teacher can structure assignments of activities to make good things happen in groups. Students must be led to the realization that they want to be around people they respect. People they want to be like.” (p. 244, Randall McCutcheon)
“He was like a father to me, through the thick and thin, and for that, I loved him as if I were his son.” (p. 244, Mark Woodhead, Tommie’s student)
“Life is to be fortified by many friendships. To love and be loved is the greatest happiness of existence.” (Walter Wincell, p. 256)

“Knowing someone believes in you is a powerful thing.” (p. 248, Victor Maog, Tommie’s student)

“You specialize in something until one day you find it is specializing in you.” (Arthur Miller, p. 249)

“If we help them to understand…the need for purposeful effort, then remarkable growth is possible.) (p. 250 Randall McCutcheon)

“Winning with your mind is like elevating your soul.” (p. 250, Tom Woodhead, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

“Debate fostered a litany of other attributes in me, including but not limited to research ability, writing skills, and knowledge of current events, philosophy, politics, economics, sociology, and history.” (p. 251, Tom Woodhead, Tommie Lindsey’s student)

We cannot be everything to everybody. An “Everyman [is] someone who sacrifices everything to be well liked.” (p. 251, Randall McCutcheon)

“Too many mentors are really tormentors.” (Eric Liu, p. 255)
Don’t be a tormentor or a dementor; be a mentor.

“Each mentor had succeeded, in no small part, because they, too, had had a successful mentor. And I was reminded again that mentors begat mentors.” (p. 256, Randall McCutcheon)

Five characteristic of successful mentors (Eric Liu—Guiding Lights: The People Who Lead Us Toward Our Purpose in Life) are outlined on page 256.

1st Life-changing teachers receive before they transmit
2nd Unblock and unlock their students
3rd Zoom in and out—break down the subject—make connections
4th Know how to avoid direct instruction
5th Know when to switch shoes, putting learner in role of teacher.
“The autodidact finds a way, any way, that works for each individual student.” (p. 258, Randall McCutcheon)

“I’d rather learn from one bird how to sing than teach ten thousand starts how not to dance.” (E.E. Cummings, p. 259)

“I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?” (Benjamin Disraeli, p. 261)
Effective followers:
1. Self-directed. Think for themselves
2. Committed. Committed to what is best for class.
3. Competent. High standards.
4. Courageous. Keep fellow students honest. (p. 262, Randall McCutcheon)

“I do not act abnormally to earn respect. I take the hand I have been dealt, and I stick with the strategy that feels right. I try to get good grades, accept leadership responsibilities on the forensics team, and act respectfully because I feel those things are important.” (p. 264, Michael Joshi, Tommie’s student)
“Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” (William Shakespeare, p. 265)

“Parents and teachers must be role models in risk taking. Supportive when things don’t work out.” (p. 266, Randall McCutcheon)

“The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing, is nothing, and becomes nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn and feel and change and grow and love and live.” (Leo. F. Buscaglia, p. 266)

“That which we persist in doing becomes easier—not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to do so has increased.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson, p. 269)

“Helen Keller was right when she said, ‘Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.’” (p. 271, LeVar Eady, Tommie’s student)

“Too often we waste more energy agonizing under the fear of failure than it takes to just step up to the plate. We need to take deep breaths, project confidence, and when we can, enjoy ourselves.” (p. 274, Reah Johnson, Randy’s student)

“You must learn to believe in yourself. As a teacher. As a parent. Then you must pass that belief on. One child at a time.” (p. 270, Randall McCutcheon)

“Obscenity in education, it seems, has taken on additional meaning. In fact, we now have a fourth R: rudeness. Disrespect is rampant in most public schools. Some teachers spend half of each class period disciplining unruly children.” (p. 270 Randall McCutcheon)

“You don’t have to be a genius to be a successful teacher. That’s what our book is about. Hope for all teachers. And what you can do to make success a reality for every student. But it helps if you are a bit crazy. Crazy enough to care more about children than you do about yourself.” (p. 280, Randall McCutcheon)

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