Charley’s World Episode Fourteen

What’s next? That was a question that had been plaguing Charley for some time. The learning community concept had begun to come into being, but the demands were far exceeding what Charley felt he could deliver. The paper that Nellie handed him contained names of children and adults who wanted help. Teachers had begun to see the success of the Learning Center in raising achievement levels. Friends of the current adult class saw the transformation that the center had achieved in those who were attending. They wanted to join up. Charley still hadn’t been able to follow-up on the requests from the Thanksgiving celebration. Charley didn’t know how to manage the growth.

It was Nellie’s practical wisdom that gave him the direction he needed “Why don’t we transform all our learners into teachers? I don’t know if I’ve told you this, but Natty has become a teacher’s aid in her class. You started her on that journey, but she has advanced even further by helping her classmates.”

Charley was amazed at Nellie’s practical insight. They made a good pair. Charley was the visionary but wasn’t that good at the implementation of that vision. Nellie was a great observer and organizer. She saw through challenges where Charley couldn’t.

“I love your idea,” Charley responded. “But I have a personal problem with it. I love the hands-on teaching that I do. I just need to see the growth of the Natty’s and Marco’s. I don’t want to give that up.”

“You don’t have to. Why don’t you think of yourself as the master teacher? You need to think about what you do to instill the joy of learning in those you work with. You have a real gift that you need to share with others. You can still get the excitement from observing the growth in those you teach. But now you will be multiplying your impact.”

“I don’t know how to capture what I do. It just seems second nature to me. Do you have any suggestions?”

“I’ve been thinking about that. I’m famous for my sweet potato pie. I get a lot of requests for recipes. But putting what I do on paper just didn’t seem to work.”

“What did you do?”

“I had one of my friends watch me make pie and ask questions throughout the preparation of the pie. Then she wrote out instructions based on the questions she asked.”

“Did that work?”

“It did. You’ll be amazed at the little things you do that you aren’t aware of. I’d love to shadow you as you teach and prepare a set of teaching guidelines. We could keep updating this with experiences of others as they begin to teach.”

Later that night, Charley was in awe of the hidden talent in Nellie that was beginning to emerge. And that gave him another idea.

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“Teaching is a great way to keep learning.” – Matthew Harvey (poet)