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Nourishing the Teacher – What our students need

Mary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, is known for giving her top performers a pink Cadillac. She said, “There are two things people want more than sex and money.  They are recognition and praise.” There are many ways we can give our students recognition and praise but nothing is more powerful for a student than seeing a teacher take their ideas seriously.  Several years ago I took a class with Dr. Carol Anne Kardash. On one of my reflection papers she commented, “I very much enjoy reading your reactions. I learn from them and they refine my thinking.  I am talking too much in class.  Please share your reactions with the class.” The knowledge that a teacher I respected took my ideas seriously made such a tremendous impact on me that I still have that note. 

A few semesters ago, Zach Zweigle had two students in his American history class who had fought in the Vietnam War. Zach recognized the treasure of knowledge these two veterans could add to the accounts in the text. He asked them to relate their first-hand experience in the war. Zach said, “These firsthand accounts were real and raw. The other students were spellbound by the stories and the veterans were bombarded with questions as a result.”  Bringing these students into the presentation not only gave the other students a better understanding of this period it also provided the veterans with recognition. Zach said, “Both veterans were so pleased by the student interaction, because many of these veterans came home from the Vietnam War to an unsympathetic country that wanted those events forgotten. They were excited to have a new generation that was interested in their story.” 

Ken Elkins is one of our experienced World History adjuncts. He had a student in his class who planned to pursue a Ph.D. in Chinese studies. She read voraciously on all aspects of ancient China and Chinese culture. Although Ken was well-versed on the subject, he seized the opportunity to recognize this student’s interest. He asked her to review the chapter and provide additional information based on her research. Both student and instructor tackled the topic during their next class period. This made a lasting impact on the student. Years later, during a trip to China, the student had a banner made in Chinese characters for the instructor that stated, “The teacher and his students are very tired at the end of the day.”

Tammy Collins has students keep portfolios in her classes. Her students answer questions such as: 1. What is my greatest achievement outside of school and work?; 2. If I knew I could not possibly fail, what would I do?; and 3. What is my best talent?  Tammy discovered, “My students were the “coolest” people in the world.” Wayne Dyer said, “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” I challenge all of us to take a fresh look at our students and we will see that we have the “coolest” people in the world in our own classes. 

Teaching Nugget
It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop. (Confucius)

Bad Joke to start the week
Why does lightening shock people?  It does not know how to conduct itself.

Steven Bishop, PhD
Provost and Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs
Ozarks Technical Community College
Springfield, MO 65802


Dr. Steven Bishop

Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs

Phone: 417-447-8152


Brenda Woods

Secretary to the Provost / Vice Chancellor

Phone: 417-447-8151


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