Friday, January 6, 2012

Investing in Teachers -- the King of Jordan, a Deerfield Academy Graduate, Speaks

Photo extracted from HRM King Abdullah II of Jordan Deerfield Academy video

Lucky are those who have had a teacher or several teachers that made a difference in one's education and, hence, in one's life. I will never forget the wonderful elementary, high school, and college teachers that I had and I can still hear some of their voices in my head.

The positive impact of a teacher can last for years and The New York Times is reporting on a study that quantifies the lasting impact that a great teacher makes.

My daughter attends Deerfield Academy, which was founded in 1797, and, on several occasions, I have written about this outstanding educational institution, various activities there, as well as the books that have been written by graduates or those closely related to the institution (The Headmaster and Death be Not Proud are two well-known examples).

The King of Jordan, His Majesty, Abdullah II, is a Deerfield Academy graduate, class of 1980.

In a recent video, Imagine Deerfield, he speaks of the education that he had at Deerfield and especially of his teachers. It is a beautiful commentary that also notes the role of technology in today's world, and it should be listened to. He especially emphasizes investing in teachers and notes some of the great teachers that he had while he was a student at Deerfield, including Madame Lyons, his French teacher (who was my daughter's French teacher last year and we had the experience of sitting in on her class during Parents' Day). A photo of the King with Ms. Lyons is available on a Deerfield webpage, which has additional information about the video.

Great teaching even a King acknowledges decades after.

And, I have heard from Deerfield Academic grads who even decades after still have dreams about their teachers -- how can one forget the unique experience of vocabulary tests given by a teacher who was a Rhodes Scholar?!

Also (and this is another example of a small world phenomenon), a brother of the king, Prince Faisal bin Al Hussein, attended The Bement School, also in Deerfield, MA, which was my daughter's elementary school, and he went to Brown University, my alma mater. Plus, he was a student in one of the Applied Math courses that I was a TA for and I recall him living in Hope College, and usually walking with two bodyguards carrying tennis rackets.