Thanks to Dr. Benes

My social studies methods course in college (Murray State University) was taught by Dr. Benes.  As undergraduates, we all knew that we knew more than he did.  He had crazy ideas about discipline. He suggested things like NOT having a discipline chart and asking kids “what do you need from me?” when they chose to misbehave.  We hadn’t even taught in a classroom yet, but we knew that wouldn’t work.  We KNEW that good teachers had to have behavior charts posted, especially in elementary classrooms.  His ideas were crazy.

Or maybe not. . .

The further I get in time from my college days, the closer I am aligning myself to Dr. Benes’s ideas.  In fact, I wish I had taken his suggestion more seriously as I began my teaching career.  I could have created communities where everyone felt loved and valued throughout my entire career.  I wouldn’t have those nagging memories of using recess and holiday parties as bribes to coerce good behavior.  Instead, those events would have been times for play and celebration that ALL kids need.

I’ll leave you with one tip from Dr. Benes that I have cherished and remembered for all these years:  “you have to love the kids, and they have to know that you love them.”  This is as true, or even more true, today than when he spoke it to us years ago.  It’s not enough to love your students, they must KNOW and FEEL the love.  If you love them, but they don’t feel loved, then it doesn’t matter.  This week, let’s make a commitment to make all of our students feel loved.


About tkslibrarian

Middle school science teacher--hoping to inspire wonder
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2 Responses to Thanks to Dr. Benes

  1. bambivogele says:

    Thanks David, It is good to know someone was listening all those years ago! Keep up the good work! Dr.Benes

  2. Joseph A Baust says:

    I will never forget him either. I met him one day and he explained his pain from a dreadful motorcycle accident that impacted him profoundly, that kept him in physical pain. For a first blush, at beginning a friendship, I thought his authenticity and sharing what was on his mind, was a little out of the ordinary. Yet his free spirited ways were refreshing in a stodgy profession of faculty worrying about tenure, promotion, and pleasing administrators. Clarence was a one of a kind who promoted working with students as unique individuals with many talents. Alas, his free-spiritedness was too great a threat for the college and his contract was not renewed. He knew I liked lore about the famous ship Titanic. He went to the exhibit in Memphis, TN of the Touring Titanic and brought back a large kitchie coffee cup with the words T-I-T-A-N-I-C on one side. One afternoon just before he was to leave the university he brought the cup to me as a gift, a rememberance of our working together. He made this comment that I will never forget: “Remember Joe, even a sinking ship has something to offer.” He did have much to offer and his contributions to students were overlooked because he was ‘different.’ The college saw his differences as a liability not a gift. It is clear to me David, in his blog saw him for what Dr Benes was, a gifted and caring teacher educator that made a real difference, overlooked by the college.

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