Friday, June 15, 2012

What Makes A Great Teacher?

My daughter, a new parent, asked me a tough question the other day - What Makes A Great Teacher? Guess she thought that I would have the answer, after all I had been a classroom teacher, a parent volunteer, PTA officer, and a student myself. I should know something about teaching, right?

That's when I started building my list and came up with the D&B Ten Traits of a Great Teacher list. A great teacher - 
  1. Realizes that he/she is teaching young people first and the subject second. (Just wish more teachers followed this rule.)
  2. Has a good command of the English grammar. (Nothing says 'Not so good" when a teacher says, "ain't' and "they is" or "Me and him" . I could go on and on and on, but you get the idea.)
  3. Stops, looks and listens to students. Sometimes you are the child's real life line, the one that can see the bullying, the abuse, the sadness.
  4. Maintains discipline in the classroom. A child can not learn in chaos. Unfortunately not enough teachers know how to efficiently 'run' a classroom.
  5. Isn't afraid to come early, stay late, or even skip lunch to help a child learn. Teaching is not a 9 to 5 job. If that's the kind of job you want, don't be a teacher. 
  6. Is creative. 'Thinking outside the box' is what outstanding teachers do.
  7. Doesn't teach 'behind the desk.' Teachers need to circulate, not hide behind a desk.
  8. Open to new ideas. "I've always done it this way" doesn't work in a classroom.
  9. Knows his/her subject thoroughly and stays current. Like students, teachers should always be learning, always be reading, always expanding knowledge.
  10. Communicates with parents. Talking to and listening to parents are so important. Wish more teachers were more parent-proactive and parent-understanding.
One more thing - if you've had a great teacher, one who made a different, be sure to tell him. 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Political Debates - The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

In this famous debate, Nixon sweats and loses.
The uncertainty and anticipation of what can happen make debates entertaining, and that was why the Lumpkin County Republican Candidate Debate this week was worth attending.
While we've been to political debates before, the Lumpkin debate was the first time we had ever seen anyone debating over the office of Coroner. One candidate even told us that he had covered two murders. Guess if you are a coroner, you need to know how to deal with dead people.

The big hot button for Lumpkin was discussed - Whether voters should have the right to vote on the referendum for Sunday Beer and Wine sales. Guy LaBoa, Carlton Smith, Chris Dockery, Bill Scott, and Doug Sheridan all agreed that the issue needed to be voted on by the people. The only negative - and this comes as no surprise to anyone familiar with this issue - came from Tim Bowden, the current Commissioner from District 3. (By the way, Carlton Smith is running against Bowden. Not going to think too long about which one will get our votes.)

The only cheap shot of the night came from County Commission Chairman candidate Dockery. After LaBoa passionately explained why he went to Iraq to help our soldiers, Dockery made an off the cuff remark that sounded to many in the audience as a direct insult to LaBoa.

Retired Lt. General LaBoa was too much of a gentleman and soldier to respond. Let's hope that at the next scheduled debate on June 14, that everyone is on their best behavior. As Laurence Sterne once said, “Respect for ourselves guides our morals; respect for others guides our manners.”

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Three Gold Rushes, One Miner and Now a Movie

Georgia's Green Russell loved hunting for gold. In fact, he is one of just a handful of prospectors who panned or mined gold in three major gold rushes in the U.S. - The North Georgia Gold Rush, California Gold Rush, and the Alaska Gold Rush.

Russell's unique role in history is about to be the subject of a $50 million dollar movie on America's rush for gold. In fact, according to the Dawsonville News, movie scouts are negotiating with Dawson County property owners to film part of the movie at Russell's old home place, near the Etowah River.

"If they can work it out with the property owner, [the film officials] want that to be one of the main sites for the film," says a local resident involved in the location selection.

Other sites considered for the film were on the Yahoola Creek, Chestatee River, and Dahlonega's Consolidated Gold Mine and old Woody's store in Auraria, off Castleberry Rd. in Lumpkin County.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We're Back!

Dahlonega and Beyond has been missing for a few weeks. D&B spent a good bit of that time, traveling way beyond Dahlonega, visiting family and friends in Arkansas and Louisiana.

One of our stops on our trip west was Little Rock and Bill Clinton's Presidential Library. While the building is horrendous looking (sort of like a giant trailer on a platform), the information inside is truly interesting and even entertaining.

Displays included major milestones during Clinton's career, from a place called Hope to the White House and beyond. Also there was a replica of the Oval Room as it was during Clinton's tenure. It's amazing to think how many world-changing decisions are made, and have been made, in that one room in the White House.

One tends to forget how much happened in the eight years he served as president - some good, some really not good. There was even space devoted to the impeachment (Alas, no blue dress was on display.)