Digging Out What’s Old to Find Something New and Timely for Teachers

Digging into old

Digging out what’s old to find something new and timely for teachers can bring unexpected rewards.

Hi and welcome back to Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers!

Have you ever gone digging?

Have your students done the same?

Not digging outdoors in the dirt…although that’s fun to do; digging can be instructive for science and other subjects.

Digging can also be messy and time-consuming, but have you ever tried this…

digging out what’s old to find something new and timely for teachers?

This kind of digging can be rewarding!

I went digging at an antique show not long ago.

I came across an old…and I do mean old…copy of The Grade Teacher, a publication of the Educational Publishing Corporation, Darien, Connecticut (US), at a show I attended.

The dog-eared issue that I discovered, dated April, 1942, was on sale for considerably more than its original 30 cents price.

Thumbing through this aged “Professional Magazine for Classroom Teachers of All Grades,” I found an article titled, “The City of Refuge” with a subtitle: Foundations of Character Education, by an American educator, Henry Turner Bailey.

This decades old analysis of character education by Bailey struck a connecting chord in my mind with Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers.

The article emphasized the importance of RESPECT.

Digging into this old idea to find something new and timely for teachers…

consider this…

doesn’t showing RESPECT include listening attentively when someone else is speaking.

A blank white board can be a relief for boggled minds. Blank boards are also clean slates that invite new ideas and information after rest time.

Showing RESPECT includes listening attentively when someone else is speaking. Teachers agree that students need to learn this aspect of RESPECT as part of Character Education.

This key trait in character education seems to be sorely lacking in some circles.

In his article, Bailey also makes the case for building foundations of character education by leading the way to the joys of learning.

His writing may sound antiquated to modern ears, but keep digging.

Bailey defines “Real Teaching” as methods by which “all school topics should be taught, that through them (the) children may catch visions of what is beyond.”

Bailey acknowledges the challenges that teachers in America (and likely elsewhere) faced during the turbulent years of World War II, the time of this now old publication.

If you “dig” antiquated expressions, you might get a kick out of Bailey’s suggestion that teaching should be leading the way “into the land of delights” (his definition of the rewards of solid character education).

The war wasn’t all to overcome in 1942.

Bailey wrote about creating a new vision for education that would be free of the restraints of earlier teaching methods.

He said, “Those who occupied our places in the past did not always serve with gladness, nor lead forth their flock with joy. When they forced children to learn verses by heart, as a punishment for some offense, they placed stumbling blocks in the path and almost closed one of the gates – perhaps the chief and most accessible.”

Bailey characterized teaching as a privilege “to free the spirit” of children. “To be able to give freedom to many is something worth the effort of a lifetime,” he wrote, also saying, “What satisfaction may be ours!”

If creative teachers keep digging out what’s old to find something new and timely for the future, we may find more satisfaction.

I’m thinking, as you may be too, that satisfaction for teachers in our turbulent 21st century will come when students are able to stay focused and “catch visions of what is beyond.”

How do you dig out what’s old to find something new and timely for your work with students? Please send comments.

Remember, you don’t need to be a magician to work magic in any instructional setting!

Talk with you next week,

BarbaraThe Lovable Poet

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Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Students are having trouble writing connecting sentences between the beginning, middle and end of a story.

Solution: Show toy airplanes, pretending to make them "take off" across notebook paper. Explain to the class that stories, like airplanes, require clear "flight paths."

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