Dustin Johnson won The Masters Invitational last week. It was a wonder to see the beauty of Augusta National in the glorious reds and golds of Fall; I have only ever seen the course in the pastels of Spring. And with no throng of fans at the event, a viewer's perspective on the golf course changes significantly.
I have long admired Dustin Johnson as a player, but I never felt any connection to him personally. I know he has a famous father -in-lay in Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey player, and I also know that DJ's wife is supermodel Paulina Gretzky. But I never felt that Dustin Johnson allowed golf fans to see who he really was, inside. That changed when he won the Masters. He actually cried as he tried to speak, and to relate the importance of his family team, including his brother, who is his caddy. He talked about going to the driving range at the age of 7, and his father, a golf professional, who encouraged him. Just that little bit of information and the showing of emotion allowed patrons a glimpse into the real Dustin Johnson, and I am now a true fan, because of his disclosure. He was honest and transparent with his feelings, and I appreciated that. From what the sports reporters said, so did they.
I share this story, because I believe that to be the best possible teacher, a person also must be his true and authentic self. I am not talking about divulging personal information or sharing problems; rather, a person must show his humaneness and his feelings. When I was in the classroom, I told my students when I appreciated something they did, and I also shared my sadness when they let me down. I showed interest in them and in their activities, and they showed interest in mine. We were honest with each other. Sometimes, I was required to give an assignment that I did not like, and I told them that although it was a requirement, I was not a fan of that particular assignment. They appreciated my transparency. Plenty of times, kids did not have their work finished on the due date. They knew I did not like lies, and many would tell me the truth and hope and ask for more time. I appreciated their honesty and would most likely grant more time. When people know each other for who they really are, classroom life is better. Teaching is entirely about relationships, and working toward relationships of honesty and transparency is a wonderful pathway to success.
Dustin Johnson increased his fan base last week, and teachers can increase their fan bases, too. Honesty and transparency make for solid relationships, and teaching is all about relationships.
Visit Dede's web page for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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