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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Five Things That Fred Astaire and Great Teachers Have In Common

He glides, he floats, he makes it look so easy.  Fred Astaire just makes me relax and be happy when I watch this beautiful scene.  But, Fred Astaire and great teachers have some things in common.

1 - They Make It Look Easy
Did it really take that long to get ready for this scene?  It looks effortless and easy!
Does it really take that long to plan for that lesson?  It looks like they are just "winging it" and going with the flow?

Yes.  It takes a long time.  Lots of knowhow, experience and practice.

2 - Deep Knowledge of Their Subject
It is easy to see that Fred Astaire knew how to dance.  He knew it inside and out.  Great teachers do too.

3 - Enjoyment of the Dance
Fred Astaire loved dance like a great teacher loves teaching.  It is in their blood, life, and bones.  To stop dancing (or teaching) would mean that life was over.  It is what we're born to do.

4 - A few tricks
Of course, there were four separate rooms for this scene and some camera trickery as well.  Likewise, good teachers know shortcuts and tricks to make things work.  They know how to silence a student goofing off with a raised eyebrow or can warm up the sad child with a gleaming eye.

5 - Desire to Innovate
Fred Astaire had such a long and illustrious career because he never stopped innovating.  He never stopped dancing.  He tried new things.  He pushed the envelope.  Likewise, great teachers like Louise Maine and Ernie Easter, reinvent themselves.  They push, they do more.  They never settle.  I want to be like them.

So, today as you dance around your classroom, do a little two step.  Dance a little lighter.  You are the Fred Astaire of your classroom.  Dance (and teach) like you mean it!

You've got the most noble calling on earth -- live like it!

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