Monday, September 1, 2014

I Love Teaching, However...

I love the process of teaching.  I love to think about teaching, to prepare lessons, to stand in front of a class and watch things get stirred up, and finally I love to watch the light bulbs come on and see students begin to understand something that was heretofore a mystery in their lives.  I love what I do so much that if I am not careful, I just do it for myself.  I focus on what I am doing and what I am going to do next.  I get a little dialogue going in my mind where I say to myself "you didn't say that right; say something else; you're losing them, be more creative or funnier".  In other words, I just worry about me and the role I'm playing.

   I've been in that mode many times and it is as though the students fade into the background.  It is as though they just exist to support me and the carefully crafted show that I have put together and am now delivering to them.  And it is usually a pretty good show, but if that is all it is, it's not good teaching because learning has taken a backseat.

My daughter Rachel helped me create this blog.  She is a blogger and a good classroom teacher.  She got me onto the computer, showed me which buttons to push, and then let me practice a few times.  Each time I practiced she would ask if I understood what I was doing.  I did and the blog was created.  Later that evening I thought that I should practice one more time while she was still around, just to make sure.  I opened the page and immediately got stuck.  "Rachel, I'm stuck here - what do I do?"  She smiled and said, "You know what to do.  Just think and remember."  I thought "What a cheeky child I've raised who won't help her father" but in her refusal to come running to my aid she helped me more.  I did poke around and I did remember what to do and I learned.

This blog is dedicated to the idea that teaching and learning are linked and need to be approached as twins.  To separate them is to do a disservice to students.


  1. Good job Scott! I'll be looking for more from you. And thanks to Rachel for being such a great teacher just like her dad.

  2. Great blog entry! As a young adult I participated in dozens of your wonderful classes focused on the Book of Mormon. I was fully engaged and inspired by your ability to field, handle, and throw back any question that I tossed your way. You were always in full command of the material and could do it out of any blank Book of Mormon handed to you. The lessons were never contrived and you always addressed the issues that were important to me during that very class. As a result, you inspired me to take your challenge and read the Book of Mormon for myself to determine the truth of its contents. You also inspired me to emulate the teaching and presentation skills that you displayed, and I have gone on to teach for the last 30 years.
    It goes way beyond teaching with the Spirit and relying upon the Lord to fill your mouth with what is needed to say. Instead, it is the mastery of teaching techniques combined with all the gifts and blessings of the Spirit so that the material can be presented to all of those in attendance in the way that will touch them with the full love of Christ. It is following the promptings and setting aside prepared material and being able to discuss the current struggles of the students and lead them to the hope that comes from turning our struggles over to Christ. Lead them to truth, and they will feel the full love of their Savior!
    It is not starting a lesson and having to arrive at a predetermined end of lesson destination. It is not cutting off a student's question because it does not fit into your lesson plan. After all, until the student opens up with their feelings, then you will never know when they have suffered a death in the family, a relationship break-up, or when they have just given up hope. Brother Scott, the Lord was able to use you to touch my spirit and inspire me to come unto Christ and feel his love; thus inspiring me to change!
    For this reason, I will always love you as a brother. Way-2-Go Brother Scott!
    Michael Leavitt - Orem, Utah -

  3. How exciting! I've enjoyed learning from you. Looking forward to your thoughts!!

  4. Your description of what is going on inside your head is what I experience. The line between focusing on ourselves and focusing on our students is a really fine one, and your description helped me to see it more clearly. Thank you. Good reminder.

  5. Thank you Scott for your willingness to act upon inspiration, and most especially for your lifelong preparation and willingness to share it. I look forward to your insights. Winn Raleigh