The Heart of Teaching Tour
I’m grateful to Sterna, my host of this second post of THE HEART OF TEACHING TOUR, and to Nonnie Jules of 4WillsPublishing who arranged it all! The full line-up for this tour can be found @ http://wp.me/P43s9i-2g
“Often, I have quipped to others that my students have taught me more than I have taught them.”
Excerpt From: John Fioravanti. “A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching.”
My thirty-five year journey in the classroom provided me with more opportunities for growth than I can count. For these lessons I will be eternally grateful to my colleague mentors and my students at St. Benedict and St. David. Very often life lessons are painful in some way. That certainly was my experience, especially with respect to the lessons received from my students at both schools. As I look back on it now, I find it so ironic that the very people I was paid to teach had a lot to teach me.
I am grateful that I was open to new learning, other wise I would never have grown as a man or as an educator. As I said earlier, some lessons are painful because they come as a direct result of a mistake, a misstep of some kind, or a serious blunder in judgment. There were times when errors on my part inflicted emotional harm to my students. Those times were very difficult for me to deal with because they were in violation of one of the main reasons I entered the teaching profession. I’m reminded of the central idea of the Hippocratic oath taken by medical doctors: do no harm!
Throughout my career, I was always amazed by the seemingly endless capacity of my students for forgiveness. But before I benefited from their generosity of spirit, I had to learn one of the most painful lessons of all. Students do not suffer fools or arrogant people at all. One of the most glaring examples of arrogance in the classroom is a teacher’s attitude that he or she doesn’t make mistakes. Now, I’m not talking about spelling errors on the blackboard – or whiteboard – or on the overhead monster. No, I’m talking about mistakes made because of inability to control one’s temper, or acting upon bad judgment. No one is perfect and even the very best teachers have bad days. But the golden lesson for me was to learn to apologize publicly to my students if I offended some or all of them. That’s really hard to do. It took me a week to work up the courage to do it the first time. Thereafter it became easier because I always experienced their forgiveness. A painful moment became a beautiful moment of bonding between the adult in the room and the students.
My learning in the classroom was both personal and academic – or professional, if you will. It was never easy. But I always thought that the benefits of that learning far outstripped any costs I paid. I emerged from that journey a far better person for it. How do I thank my students for that?
Throughout his career, John focused on developing research, analysis, and essay writing skills in his History Classroom. This led to the publication of his first non-fiction work for student use, Getting It Right in History Class. A Personal Journey to the Heart of Teaching is his second non-fiction work; it attempts to crystallize the struggles, accomplishments, and setbacks experienced in more than three decades of effort to achieve excellence in his chosen field.
John’s first work of fiction is Passion & Struggle, Book One of The Genesis Saga, and is set within Kenneth Tam’s Equations universe (Iceberg Publishing). He claims that, after two non-fiction books, he’s having the time of his life bringing new stories and characters to life!
At present, John lives in Waterloo, Ontario with Anne, his bride of forty-one years. They have three children and three grandchildren. In December of 2013, John and Anne founded Fiora Books for the express purpose of publishing John’s books.
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This tour sponsored by 4WillsPublishing.wordpress.com