Teach from the Heart

The official title of this short video is “My Best Advice (after 34 years of teaching)”

But we always call it … (spoiler alert) … “Teach from the Heart”.

We made over 200 videos for teaching channel, and this is among the very most special for us.

Firstly, there is Stephen Rutherford, the amazing teacher himself. We had been assigned to find and videotape those wonderful human beings who were true master teachers, the gifted few who somehow could inspire students and change a life path (something i hope each of us reading this has personally experienced, i know i have …) So many administrators, teachers and students had told us to videotape Mr Rutherford, but for the longest time he refused. For him, as he later explained, the magic of teaching was something that “happened”, and not necessarily something that could be videotaped so he was suspicious of allowing cameras into the classroom and maybe ruining that thing he was looking for, the light-going-on and the connection that is the essence of the great teacher in a successful classroom.
beyond any objective measurement.

But in conversation with some unknown friend of his, the concept of his impending retirement came up. This was Mr. Rutherford’s last year in the classroom. Discussing that fact with his friend changed his mind. For the first time he thought … perhaps there would be something of value in recording his daily improvisation in education, his ineffable method at achieving excellence.

The specific lesson on magnetism we videotaped was all we hoped for – an excellent class, an improvised dance between students and teacher achieving together a journey into knowing more, into learning together, into mutual respect and engagement.

Then, in the interview after, he began to discuss his retirement and spoke, as you will see here, about his best advice after 34 years of teaching. I was touched and inspired and edited this short video for our client The Teaching Channel.

To my great surprise, at first they did not want to post it. The Teaching Channel has a very worthwhile mission: professional development for teachers. Mostly that means videos which are useful to other teachers for quite specific reasons: specific to the subject-matter, to the grade-level, to whatever specific teaching standard, to some typical student behavior, and this was none of those. At first, they saw no value in it.

As a video production company, we were not experts in education and ill-equipped to convince them of the value of the piece, except fortunately for one phrase in one sentence in the mission sentence describing the overall goal of the entire Teaching Channel organization. It said their goals included, “to inspire teachers, to remind them of why they became teachers in the first place.”

With that as a rational, they accepted the piece and posted it on line, where i hope it remains available and popular to this day. But even if not, it remains available here, for you; and popular within my heart at least, to this very day.

Thank you Stephen Rutherford… and thank all of you teachers who understand and act upon his simple and profound advice.

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