Thinking about Gert Ullsperger. Ever present during my 41 years of teaching. So much you taught me: a role model of kindness, curiosity, authenticity, optimism, and generosity. You made everyone you interacted with feel special. Rest in Peace.
Several weeks ago I came to the realization that my concept of “best” teachers has changed dramatically. Perhaps that awareness came in part because it dawned on me that so many of my best teachers have died. But clearly my definition has broadened and become enriched rather than diminished as it has changed across the course of my lifetime.
Without doubt early in my life my best teachers were members of my immediate family—in fact they still are and I love and respect them dearly for how they have impacted my life. Also, I can easily identify significant high school, college, and graduate school master teachers and Carroll emeritus faculty and staff
who nurtured my love of learning, introduced me to new ways of thinking, challenged and encouraged me, and served as role models of scholarship, intellectual curiosity, fairness, integrity, and decency.
Many of my “best” teachers, today, however, are much younger than I, or are of different species, or are scattered across the globe or, are virtual, rather than human.
I learn so much from playing with two (and almost two-year-olds) and four-year-olds in all their innocence.
Robin-the-Newf at 8 years of age continued to teach this Old Dog, if not new tricks, at least the value of being puppy-like. Canine companions Leo and Rollie have similarly been master teachers, humbling me with their values.
My research assistants were always teaching me new things or by their behaviors reminding me that I was no longer nor ever will again be 21-years-of age! My Internet International friends in Turkey and Lithuania and Spain reminded me, through their teaching, of the universality of a belief in the importance of teaching and learning and of the importance of creating bridges of learning activities across age, culture, language, and gender differences.
Who (what) are your “best” teachers beside sExperience?