The meaning of Labor Day is not lost on educators – SCN Encourager

Denture ModeLearning is in session 365/24/7.

And if what is occurring in the world is frequently at odds with the expectations and standards modeled in our schools, that’s okay.

Everyone’s future will be brighter because of it.

Sometimes the world will say, “Throw on a smile and fake it ’til you make it.”

And sometimes I’ll even try this myself for a few seconds – until the rest of my face refuses to go along with the charade.

An artificial smile I can usually manage.

It’s the wrinkles, gray hair, and big nose that are difficult for me to fake my way around.

Besides, while encouraging smiles is always nice, promoting the “fake it ’til you make it” platitude probably isn’t the best one for our schools.

Especially on Labor Day, as this is our holiday to celebrate hard-working men and women who, through trade groups and other associations, have contributed mightily to our social and economic progress.

I doubt that our nation’s richly diverse economic strength was fueled by millions of fakers just going with the flow.

Not that I wouldn’t have loved to try.

But parents and educators have universally locked arms over the years against every alternative to hard work and initiative.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 1.10.47 PMWant an example?

Pick up a copy of SUCCESS magazine sometime.

And no – I’m not a paid shill for this publication – but you’d be surprised at how many of our top innovators, job-providers, and product creators describe an encounter in their school with a caring teacher that shaped their lives.

You know how your bus drivers and food service workers can tell “stories” about your schools to neighbors and community members with a high degree of trust?  So can these people.

Here’s an example from last month’s Success magazine.

It involves Jimmy White, a commercial and residential real estate developer.

He was young in his career and his track record for pitching his business proposals to bank committees and investor groups was lousy. In fact, one bank had turned him down 30 straight times on different proposals.

Jimmy was about to present his biggest proposal ever when he found out that the group he would be “pitching to” was comprised of members from the horrid “thumbs down” bank and a few other financially astute investors.

He was scared and nervous.

He had reason to be.

And he recalls pacing outside the bank boardroom where he would make his big presentation while thinking about another stand-up presentation he made back in high school English class.

That was a disaster, too.

He was giving a report on The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

He wasn’t too far into his report when the teacher stopped him and asked him to step out to the hallway.

“Jimmy,” the teacher said. “Did you even read the book?”

“No,” admitted Jimmy.

Screen Shot 2014-08-30 at 2.24.56 PM“Well, listen,” said the teacher, ” I’m going to give you a passing grade on your promise that from now on… whenever you are presenting to others… you will be honest and only speak about what you know. You should never fake what you don’t know. Be passionate and confident about what you do know and also be willing to tell the truth about what you do not know.”

Jimmy took this advice with him into the boardroom.

Without me even relating the rest of the details, you can guess what happened next.

He “wowed ’em” with this presentation… and during the many more that followed.

Jimmy gives credit today to the attention and support of his high school English teacher.

I was proud that there were at least five other similar examples I could’ve pulled out of the magazine.

And none of the unsolicited praise for our schools involved a score on a standardized test, by the way.

I like it whenever our profession gets credit from unexpected sources.

I even circled all six articles in my magazine with a red sharpie.

Three years ago, I tried circling recipes I thought looked tasty in one of Cindy’s Cook’s Illustrated magazines.

Without me even relating the rest of the details, you can guess what happened next.


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