Steve Heisler

Teacher Author Speaker


"Every single child wants to be successful. The problem is, if they can't be successful at being successful, they'll be successful at screwing up. Our job as educators is to change the latter to the former."    

- from the The Missing Link by Steve Heisler

Check the Clock

Our students operate in two time zones, only one of which is in school. But our actions resonate in both time zones.

In school-time  we watch our students struggle, and often feel deeply for them. Their issues sometimes seem alarmingly simple to fix from our perspective. Our maturity and experience makes us think, if only he would. . . . If only she would. . . . If only. Sometimes we even think that with the right motivation or the right kind of consequence we can make it happen...we can fix this, easy.

In reality, fixing a problem is sometimes the right thing to do, but mostly it is not, and if you're not sure of when to do which, as a rule of thumb it is probably always better not to fix the problem yourself. However, don't just wash your hands of the problem, either.

When students try to solve thier own problems, with our continuous facilitative guidance as neccessary,  they not only get to be the hero of thier own story, they also take with them the learning they'll need for the next problem when it arises. And even when on occasion they are overwhelmed by their struggle, so long as it is not a matter of life and death,  for the most part, any day is just one day, any decision is just one decision, and any problem is just one of many decisions and days and problems that flow in life-time.

Life-time is longer than school-time but school-time is sometimes more powerful. Our main effort, above all, should be that we use our authority and our wisdom wisely, as compassionate, professional educators, to try to assure that what we do in school-time does not undermine a student's belief in their own power to solve whatever problems life brings to them or rob them of their resilliancy and hope for another crack at that problem tomorrow and tomorrow and all the tomorrows after that.