Higher Education News
We hear about all the great teachers in the counseling office. The one who set the times tables to the tune of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” ensuring kids will remember them forever, even if it will take a while to get to eight times nine. Mr. Jones, the history teacher who dressed up like Benjamin Franklin for an entire week and never once broke character. The tenth grade English teacher who finally explained “I after e” in a way that made sense. When you put that much thought into a lesson, it’s makes for memorable teaching.
Of course, that’s not the only way teachers become memorable. The teacher who said just the right words at just the right time to the bully who had incredible art talent, making the student more comfortable with who they really were, and less of a bully. The teacher who wore the cut-rate perfume a special needs student gave her at Christmas, every time that student had a spelling test—the same perfume she’d wear when attending that student’s graduation from medical school. The teacher who shows up at the Saturday soccer league and cheers loudly for all of her students on the sidelines, even though her students are spread throughout both teams, and it’s forty degrees out.
You can’t analyze a test score to determine what these teachable moments do to the learning and learning habits of students, but everyone seems to understand what they do to students’ learning, and students’ lives. Like recess, these teachable moments inspire in ways we can’t quite measure, but we still know their worth is beyond measure.
These aren’t just discrete, feel-good stories. Most of my counseling work for the last thirteen years has involved working with students in college placement. In that time, every student—every single one—has had the chance to go to college; most have earned at least one merit scholarship, and for those who have been out for four years or more, nearly all of them have finished college on time.
Almost none of that is due to me. It’s a tribute to the teacher who took a group of six year-olds into the woods for an entire class period and told them to watch and listen—and they did; to the teacher who had flags from 45 nations in his fourth-grade Social Studies classroom, and talked about the country each flag represented for a full year; to the two teachers who took significant scorn from their colleagues every year they wanted to team teach Lord of the Flies, because it threw such a wrench into the middle school schedule.
Making the most of college—and learning a trade for that matter—isn’t at all about getting in. It’s about the absorbing, the becoming, the grappling of new ideas that doesn’t end until the idea is now an honored friend. That state of mind, the acquisition of the habits needed to do that kind of learning, is the essence of teaching. It is alive and well in the classrooms of the colleagues I eat lunch with. More important, it is in the hearts, minds and souls of the students they serve.
This week reminds me of the story of the principal who was interviewing candidates for a middle school English position. The first five interviews were all remarkably short, where the principal asked each candidate what they taught. When they responded, “I teach English”, the principal said, “I see. Well, thank you for coming in.”
The interview with the sixth candidate started with the same question, “What do you teach?” When the candidate responded, “Why, I teach students about the wonders of the English language”, the principal responded with, “I see. Tell me more about that.”
It is one thing to consider Teacher Appreciation Week as a triumph over the long odds of limited budgets, aging facilities, crowded classrooms and wonky Internet connections. That’s an important discussion to have, but this week is more about those who serve, and what they leave their students with. In the end, that is all teaching ever was; it is what it must continue to be, if our world is to continue to flourish.
A White Student Called the Police on a Black Student Who Was Napping. Yale Says It’s ‘Deeply Troubled.’
APAHM stands for Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. It was first designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week by President Carter under Public Law 95-419 in 1978. In 1992, it was designated as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month by President Bush under Public Law 102-450.
This is a time for many Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) to reflect on our history here in the U.S. and also celebrate our culture and heritage. It’s a month full of joyous activities as well as remembering some challenges in U.S. history such as the Chinese Exclusion Act. President Trump proclaimed May 2018 as APAHM by recognizing the tremendous contributions that AAPIs such as Kalpana Chawla and Susan Ahn Cuddy have made to our communities and nation.
The U.S. Federal government will take part in these festivities by hosting events in commemoration of APAHM so keep your eyes on the lookout for events across our nation’s capital and the country! The U.S. Department of Education will be hosting two events this month through the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (WHIAAPI). WHIAAPI works to improve the quality of life for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders across the nation through increased access to and participation in federal programs. Learn more about our mission.
The first event is the 2018 National Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Business Summit, organized in partnership with the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) at the U.S. Department of Commerce in collaboration with WHIAAPI and National Asian/Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (National ACE). The purpose of the 2018 National AAPI Business Summit is to celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander business successes and to open doors to new opportunities.
The Summit will gather hundreds of AAPI business owners and community members to interact with government agencies. The program will include successful AAPI business owners who will share best practices on collaboration with federal and private corporations. Participants will learn about government services available to support the growth of their businesses and have plenty of networking opportunities. The event will be on May 15th from 7:30 am – 5:00 pm. Click here by May 10th to register.
The second event is WHIAAPI’s Community Leaders Forum, which will be held on May 17th from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. This forum will provide an opportunity for community leaders to engage with senior level federal officials to discuss issues currently impacting the AAPI community. The forum will include roundtable discussions on the following areas of focus:
- Education and Career Development
- Healthcare and Housing
- Workforce Leadership
- Economic Development and Jobs
To participate in the Community Leaders Forum, register here!
Keep up with what WHIAAPI is doing this month by following our blog.
Have a wonderful Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month!
Holly Ham is the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.