You can lead a horse to water…

teachers open the door

Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself.


Infighting leads to losing

Captured by, Ghana defender John Boye kisses the cash he receives.

Captured by, this image shows Ghana defender John Boye kissing the cash he receives.

The U.S. was lifted out of the Group Stage by Ghana’s loss to Portugal June 26, which calculated the right FIFA math for Clint Dempsey and crew to advance.

And Ghana’s loss was brought about by infighting. It was the scenes behind the scenes that determined failure for Ghana. What went wrong for Ghana at the World Cup?

  • The players nearly boycotted the game, demanding $3 million in payment. Ghana president flew the money to them in emergency fashion.
  • Towering superstar Sulley Muntari physically attacked Ghana officials and was kicked out of the game. His absence was felt.
  • Talented Kevin-Prince Boateng insulted the Ghana coach and also was suspended. On the field, he’s a difference maker. Off the field, he was prevented from helping his team.

With key players suspended or injured, Portugal was a decimated team. It should have been an easy win. If Ghana would have won, they would have advanced, and the U.S. would have flown home.

Maybe you are right to be disgruntled. Administration is obstructing teaching. Parents are throwing stones. But don’t let the brouhaha distract from teaching. Don’t sacrifice class quality because of interference.

The news about Ghana’s turmoil has been almost completely overlooked because people are only interested in goals. But the goals were lacking due to the infighting. Don’t allow politics and personality clashes play out in student suffering. Don’t let the lack of money affect your teaching energy.


Spain’s World Cup loss and compassion in teaching

teacherSpain’s been dethroned, but we have yet to see who will assume command of the world soccer stage. I’m glad with teaching you can always seek to improve, every year.

Holland strafed the former World Cup champions mercilessly, winning 5-1. The victory was only a qualifying match so Spain’s not completely out year, but it signified an end of a cycle.  Soccer has a very short peak in which youthful quickness matches growing experience. Usually the perfect combination of experience and speed lasts only a few years. Looks like those years are over for Spain.

But with teaching, I can look forward to my best years. I can evaluate successes and failures. I can reassess and readjust. What worked splendidly 20 years ago may fail utterly today. I’m definitely leaning with those who emphasize quality over quantity, university-readiness over global knowledge. The Internet has disrupted education like the printing press upended Medieval copyists.

Whereas in soccer, velocity is crucial, in teaching compassion reigns supreme. If we don’t care for our students any more, then we are has-beens. We may have tenure, but we will no longer be effective. We will fail our communities. Let us blame the new generation of ADD, the politicians for short-funding, disintegrated families. We can paint the world of blame, but if we don’t have a true interest in the well-being of our students, it is US who are failing the educational system.

Violence against the teacher

violence against teachersA friend of mine, a good teacher, quit when a student threw a desk at him. The principal, feeling powerless in a system that insanely favors “rights” over responsibilities, refused to discipline the student.

And so the educational system lost another splendid, dynamic teacher. Will the pendulum swing back?

My friend felt his life was in jeopardy. He now runs a business. Who took over the public post in his stead? Maybe it was somebody who didn’t buzz with passion to foster the scientific spirit. Maybe it was somebody who was just clocking hours for a decent pay check. Maybe it was somebody willing to endure threats to his well-being for the state-financed benefits.

Another good teacher leaves, another bad teacher takes his place.