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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Lessons Learned From Mr. L. Smith Science Teacher KCSS

Lessons Learned From Mr. Smith 
Respect Makes a Difference
Michael H Ballard of Resiliency for Life

I have had many significant teachers in my life. Some formally at the head of a classroom and others as next door neighbours, friends, coworkers, managers and some out and out strangers who I spent time with for only a short period of time.

Today though I wanted to honour one who in a very brief moment showed finesse and an emotional intelligence that both respected the student who had made a punishable offence twice, spared his feelings, made the point and showed the class his leadership skills while then at the same time ensure that the class understood the issue at hand.

I was in science class with Mr. Smith as the teacher. He was upbeat, respectful, and he made his topic of science interesting and it stuck.  The student who goofed and created this punishable offence was like the rest of us in Grade 10 just trying to fit in and being teenager’s explore life in all the ways teenagers do.

Expect he had bought porn to school and did not try to hide it. This was not dainty cute lots of airbrushed PG13 no brown paper bag required porn but instead it was very vile. Mr. Smith in catching the student grazing and lusting upon the pictures firmly asked him to bring it up to the front of the room with the magazine “Closed” so as to not offend anyone.

He then proceeded to ask the student why he felt the need to look at such a magazine in a public place. Did he not realize that some would find it offensive?
So Mr. Smith then ask the student to throw it in the wastebasket. The teacher then asked him why he didn’t invest his time in actually talking to a few of the young ladies in the school. Because if you invest your time talking with them instead of objectifying some of them, when the time is right, and you’re the right age amazing things could happen, with the right young lady with you.

Now you have to know that Mr. Smith was (and still is I certain) smart, hard working, approachable, volunteered more than most other teachers,  and his classes where ones we all enjoyed taking. However and it’s a big HOWEVER his wife was as professional and nice as him. She also volunteered at the school and was considered to be one of the best looking spouses that ever graced the halls of the school.

So, Mr. Smiths words rang very true that day in science class. The student in question had a hangdog look on his face and repeated several times, Yes Sir. Understood Sir. Okay Sir. Mr. Smith never raised his voice to make his point.  His words where well crafted, delivered with respect and he dealt with the student with dignity.

Thank you Mr. Smith for a First Class example of how to handle a behaviour issue with dignity and respect.  Plus he made certain both genders in the room knew that we should actually talk to each other. Connect with each other. Not objectify each other. I can remember it like yesterday. What a positive impact great communications makes.

So until next time, Imagine Yourself with more Resiliency for Life.


Michael Ballard specializes in helping people, schools, organizations and communities learn how to become more resilient.

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