Since WordPress no longer allows me to ‘press’ a post and therefore schedule into this 6pm slot without converting to the new block editor, I have resurrected by reblog heading. It is not going to stop me sharing the good stuff!
A wonderful tribute to a long term friend and mentor by Pete Springer.: The Gift that Keeps Giving
While it’s important to find leaders who mentor and provide guidance when starting any pursuit, it is especially true in education. It is my pleasure to write about one such individual who has been a source of inspiration to me for almost forty years. If you already know Nancy Wheeler, you probably look up to her as a person or educator. If you’ve never met Nancy before, it brings me great joy to introduce her.
I first met Nancy when I was doing my student teaching at Pine Hill School in 1983-84. In those days, unless you had experience working in schools, student teachers did not have any on the job training until their fifth year of schooling. (I’m glad to see that this practice has changed because earlier educational opportunities make far more sense.)
Since student teachers were assigned a master teacher, a college student had no idea if that educator would become a source of inspiration or a complete dud. I hit the lottery when it came to master teachers.
I spent most of my student teaching year with a fabulous role model and teacher, Cynthia Van Vleck, in her sixth-grade classroom. She held the unusual position of teaching principal. From the first hour in her classroom, it was clear I was watching a master of the craft. She was a charismatic and talented teacher who could hold an audience’s attention. I modeled much of my teaching style based on her approach—firm, fair, and consistent. While always remaining in control, she wasn’t afraid to have fun with her students. We were a good match in that respect.
Partway through my student teaching year, it was time to switch classrooms. Current practice now involves teachers splitting their placements equally, usually going to a different school. In my experience, I walked a few doors down and went from sixth-grade to second-grade for the next three weeks.
Nancy Wheeler had a different teaching style than Cynthia but was equally effective. Nancy modeled her approach after famed educator, Madeline Hunter. Hunter’s model gained such fame in the 1970s and 1980s that it became known as the Madeline Hunter Teaching Method. While space doesn’t allow me to go into great depth here, her approach encouraged teachers to follow the same seven-step procedure whenever teaching a lesson. Much of what I had learned until then was that the teacher largely disseminated information to students. One key element I learned from Nancy was the use of student collaboration.
As someone who was still finding his way, the biggest takeaway for me was that there was more than one way to be an effective teacher. Cynthia and Nancy were two of the best teachers I saw during my thirty-one-year career. What luck for me to meet them at such an impressionable age!
Please head over to read this wonderful tribute in full: The Gift that Keeps Giving by Pete Springer
One of the recent reviews for the book
Today, more than ever, children need role models and so do adults, parents too. And we need to re-learn basic responsibility and how this is a two way road.
Finding your inner voice and passion is what we all need to discover and Pete Springer paints us a vivid image in this book.
This is an entertaining read based on first hand experiences dripping with humor.
A book I wholeheartedly enjoyed although I already brought up two children.
A must read, wether you are a teacher or a parent. Grandparent too.