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- Behind every great person in history, you will find either great parents or a great teacher, often both.
- A leader is a "dealer in hope"—one who projects toward the future and persuades others to join (not just follow) in some interesting, challenging collective enterprise.
- An education is what you have left over after you've forgotten the "material."
- Young people grow in character by imitating (usually unconsciously) adults whose character they admire. Hence the importance of a teacher's example.
- Young people do not grow up when they can take care of themselves—but rather when they can take care of others, and want to.
- Do I have a sense of "vocation" about my teaching career? Do I strive to be an excellent professional—enjoying (as Aristotle put it) "the full use of one's powers along lines of excellence"?
- How do I expect each of my students to change for the better, and for life, as a result of my professional service? How am I working to improve their character strengths of sound judgment, sense of responsibility, tough-minded perseverance, self-mastery, and heart (compassion, magnanimity)?
- To look at it another way, what am I doing to help them internalize lifelong attitudes and habits essential to their later success and ethical uprightness—integrity, powers of sustained effort, realistic self-confidence, regard for others' rights, respect for learning and intellectual accomplishment, a spirit of service and collaboration, ideals of professionalism?
- Do I foster a sense of collaborative accomplishment ("We...") in our classwork? How do I convey a sense of progress to them, that they are growing steadily in some powers that will benefit them and others throughout their lives? Do I help them project their lives forward toward the challenges of the next 50 years?
- Do my students know what is expected of them? Are my rules reasonable, clear, and fair? Am I quick to admit mistakes and make apologies where necessary, showing that I value truth and justice above my pride?
- Do I reflect deeply about the strengths, unsuspected gifts, and possibilities of each student, especially those in the middle of the class, who are often overlooked?
- Do I try to maintain reasonably frequent contact with the parents of each student—and see this as an essential part of my professional service?
- What works would I recommend to parents and gifted students who wished to know more about my field of interest?
Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this material for non-commercial use.
It is taken from the Website of James B. Stenson, educational consultant: ParentLeadership.com.
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James B. Stenson
Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Listen to a speech by James Stenson: "Successful Fathers" (new)
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a Parent Discussion Group
Advice for Fathers (new)
Born to Serve, Not to Shop--
Effective Parenting in a Nutshell (new)
Danger Signs: Families Headed for Trouble
How Does a Father Protect His Family?
Table Manners for the Home
A Father's Unity of Life
Professionalism & Workplace Savvy
The Vision of Parent Leaders
Family Rules: The Power of "We..."
Discipline: What Works and Why
Coming Down the Home Stretch--
How Parents Deal Effectively with their Adolescent Children
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Practical Handbook for Teachers: Some Notes of Experience about Teaching
Important Questions for Teachers
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