I had an experience last week that made me think about the difference between good teaching and great teaching. I’ve been pondering on it for days and although the situation was not specific to schools or education, I couldn’t help but think about the parallels to what great Teachers do in the classroom.
I was at a restaurant where I was catching up with some close friends for dinner.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with a smile and a quick conversation about our day. It was all about a personal connection and we were made to feel like the most important guests in the restaurant, just like our kids should feel when they walk into our classroom each morning.
We sat at our table and chatted before the waiter returned to take our order. Even this part was engaging. With no notepad or device in hand, we started placing our order and just like the classroom, our waiter was forced to take our many comments onboard.
A bit like differentiation, we asked lots of questions, there were modifications to orders based on diet and for some of us who were still undecided, we were looking for guidance. Not only did he listen, but he also personalised every encounter. There was an explanation about the local produce, the drinks that complimented the food, and the menu recommendations based on previous conversations. Again, it made me think about great Teachers and their ability to craft an experience for their students that’s more than just delivering the content.
To this point, I was extremely impressed, but as the waiter walked away, I doubted that he could remember everything. In total, there were 12 different entrees, mains and drinks and all with a little bit of variation. On returning, I was proven to be wrong and every meal was perfect.
The meal was divine and I was completely satisfied. Full to the brim, I had no intention to visit the dessert menu until our waiter returned. I’m not sure how it happened, but he managed to get that list into my hand and although I couldn’t decide, I trusted him to make the selection for me. This was another reflection of great teachers who can get their student to do things they never intended.
Visiting this restaurant was way more than just a meal. It was a learning experience. Like in the classroom, great teachers create a learning experience that is not solely focused on the content but is highly engaging and enjoyable for everyone.