Superintendent Chris King took time out of his busy life to underscore the value he places on Boulder Valley School District teachers. He spoke as a special guest as the Boulder Colorado Stake, a local geographical subdivision of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, honored 11 as “Most Inspirational Teachers” on Feb. 24 at 701 W. South Boulder Road, Louisville.
King reminisced about beginning his career as a teacher at Broomfield High and always coming home with chalk on himself from the blackboard. He added, “Of course, those were the days before smart boards.”
While some things in education change, others remain constant. Over 150 listened as King shared a quote from one of his “favorite reads,” Phi Delta Kappan. The quote by Sydney J. Harris from the April 1964 edition is still relevant. I appreciate King for sharing “Authentic Teachers” with me so I could share it with you in its entirety. It goes like this:
“A person is either himself or not himself; is either rooted in his existence, or is a fabrication; has either found his humanhood or is still playing with masks and roles and status symbols. And nobody is more aware of this difference, although unconsciously, than a child. Only an authentic person can evoke a good response in the core of another person. Only a person is resonant to a person.
“Knowledge is not enough. Technique is not enough. Mere experience is not enough. This is the mystery at the heart of the teaching process… Each is an art, more than a science or a skill – and the art is at the bottom of the ability to ‘tune in to the other’s wave length.’ This ability is not possessed by those who have failed to come to terms with their own individual person, no matter what other talents they possess. Until they have liberated themselves from what is artificial and unauthentic within themselves, they cannot communicate with, counsel or control others.
“The few teachers who meant the most to me in my school life were not necessarily those who knew the most – although knowledge often accompanied their compassion – but those who gave out of the fullness of themselves; who confronted me face to face, as it were, with a humanhood that awoke and lured my own small and trembling soul and called me to take hold of my own existence with my two hands…”
The superintendent is right in pointing out these truths. Congratulations to Terrence Dunn, Andrea Staufer, Jim Davidson (all three at Broomfield High), Mark Haxton (Aspen Creek), David Evans, Reid Walker, Jay Weerman (Monarch High), Belinda Harp-Schrag, Arthurenia Hawkins (both at Broomfield Heights Middle School), Pam Unrau (Douglas Elementary), and Carla Flanhofer (Peak to Peak).
Knowledge, technique, and experience are not enough. Thanks to these and all teachers who add that “inspirational” and “authentic” factor into their teaching.