Read an Excerpt
The One Minute Teacher
ONCE there was a Young Person who wanted to learn.
He was a student at a local university, who took many interesting courses, read many fine books, and had some very good teachers.
But he was disappointed.
He felt something was lacking. He didn't know what he was looking for, but he knew it was important. He hoped he would find a special teacher who would be able to supply that missing ingredient and teach him what he needed to know.
One evening as The Young Person read the newspaper, an interesting article caught his eye. It was an interview with a successful "One Minute Teacher."
"How could anyone," he wondered, "be a One Minute Teacher?"
After all, he knew, it certainly takes more, than a minute oftime and thought to be a good teacher.
In the past, he'd often read About the difficulties of schoolteachers. He'd heard of teacher burn! out, problems with student apathy, and poor parent participation. And it seemed that many people blamed the problems of society on the schools.
Yet the further he read, the more he began to hope that he had found an answer that would work.
He was intrigued with what The Teacher had to say.
When the interviewer asked her how she really felt, The Teacher admitted, "I once felt that too much was expected of me. I felt rushed and unappreciated. I felt frustrated with students not making faster progress.
"But now that has all changed, I am happier, have more energy, and enjoy watching my students learn more."
"What happened?" the reporter asked in the article.
The One Minute Teacheranswered, "I used to be exhausted from my constantly trying to teach my students. Then I taught them to help teach themselves."
When she was asked how she learned to do this, The Teacher said it all began when her former principal gave her a copy of a business book entitled The One Minute Manager. At the time, the principal had reminded her of a saying she'd heard before and encouraged her to apply it to teaching: "Rather than give a hungry man a fish, it is far better to teach him to fish for himself. Then he will have food of his own for a lifetime."
The Teacher continued, "Teachers prepare students to teach themselves the disciplines of learning. In life, most of what we must learn happens outside a classroom. I simply show the students three self-teaching techniques. Each takes only a Minute. Within a few months, my students were happier. We all had more enthusiasm for what we were accomplishing.
"While the method may not answer all our teaching questions, it is an excellent technique that is extremely helpful and successful for both teachers and students," added The Teacher.
The Young Person wondered what The Teacher and her students knew that he didn't know.
As The Young Person read more of the newspaper article, he was impressed with the teacher's basic principle. It was:
Every One Of Us Is Both
A Student And A Teacher.
We Are At Our Best When
We Each Teach Ourselves
What We, Need To Learn.
The newspaper interviewer asked, "How can we teach ourselves what we want to learn?"
The Teacher went on to explain that she used an adaptation of the three business "One Minute" principles, first with herself and then with her students: 1. Setting One Minute Goals, 2. Giving One Minute Praisings, 3. Using One Minute Recoveries.
"It wasn't easy in the beginning," she noted, "but with practice it became easier, almost like a habit. First, I used the three simple methods to teach myself When I did, I became enthusiastic about my life and my teaching. The feeling was infectious and soon my students noticed the difference in me and asked what my 'secrets' were.
"And so I taught them to use the same three principles themselves."
The Young Person completed the article and began to think. His thoughts drifted back to his teachers. He remembered that some of his teachers were well-meaning but the students weren't involved in their learning. Other teachers hammered knowledge into students but robbed them of the joy of learning.
He liked the idea of becoming his own teacher and wanted to know more.
Early the next morning, The Young Person called the One Minute Teacher at her school. She was always pleased to hear from a student who wanted to learn.
The Young Person explained to her that he was looking for answers, answers that he felt she held.
The Young Person mentioned that he would like to learn more about the One Minute principles. "Are they difficult to understand?" he asked.
The Teacher was quick to answer. "No. They are simply a way of using methods that you already know work in life, but which you forget to use.
"The key to finding success with the three principles is to live them. When we discover that they benefit us personally, we begin to make that wonderful difference in our lives."
"So where do I begin?" asked The Young Person.
The Teacher answered simply, "Begin with yourself."
Then she said, "You can learn more by watching the process in action than from anything I could tell you. I am introducing the three One Minute principles to a group of children next week. Why don't you plan on visiting our classroom?"
THE Young Person quietly pulled up a chair in the back of The Teacher's room.
"How many of you play soccer?" he heard The Teacher ask. A number of hands went up.
"How many of you have scored a goal?" A few students responded. "Was it fun? How did you feel?"
One student answered, I felt great!"
"Why did you feel great?" asked The Teacher.
"Because I made it," said the student.
"Exactly," TheTeacher said. "A goal is something you shoot for, and when you accomplish it,...The One Minute Teacher. Copyright � by Spencer & Const Johnson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.