Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of Legends - A Blog for Principals and Teachers - School Matters | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of Legends

 
 

 

 

39 150x150 Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of LegendsAs the school year begins in the Southfield neighborhood of Detroit, a beloved and devoted teacher, Eliezer Cohen, will not be in his sixth grade classroom. His absence was not expected. Cohen had not missed an hour, much less a day, in the 39 years that he had taught at the local private school. His new students were eagerly anticipating the opportunity to learn from this best teacher as many of their parents had done before them.

 

But Cohen’s chair remained empty this past Monday morning. Cohen suffered a heart attack on Saturday morning and passed away later in the day. The entire community has been left in a state of shock and deep mourning. I am sure that the foundations of the building itself shook as the funeral procession passed by the school where Eliezer Cohen had impacted the lives of so many students.

 

Cohen was a legendary teacher. I was his principal for the five years I spent in Michigan and many years later I still mention his name often. While we did not always agree on all issues, I always admired him as an educator. As I mourn his passing, I reflect on what constitutes teaching excellence and what made him so special.

 

Cohen expected the best from his students. He did not accept mediocre work nor allow lazy attitudes. But what made his demanding approach unique is that he did so out of a love and care for his students that was simply unparalleled. His demands were thus always appropriate and educationally valid. Cohen would talk with conviction but also listen with the utmost empathy, displaying sensitivity and humor that won over every student. Children appreciated and even welcomed the hard work that was demanded because it was apparent to them that every assignment had been tailored to ensure their progress and would enhance their chances for academic success.

 

This is the most powerful equation for success as a teacher: demanding yet loving, a will of iron combined with a heart of gold. It is a tricky balancing act that demands mastery of both subject matter and educational methodology, absolute integrity and sacrificial devotion.

Cohen had all the above, explaining why a day of teaching was never missed and how he was able to inspire students, who in turn excelled under his tutelage. It explains why students visited his classroom years after graduation and eagerly awaited the day that their own children would benefit from being in his class. It is the stuff of which legends are made.

 

I bid farewell to a paradigm of teaching excellence. Even though I was his principal, I guess in the end I was really his student as well. It is my hope that his memory will continue to serve as an inspiration to all those who benefited from knowing him and from learning in the magical place that was his classroom for 39 years.

 

Share and Enjoy:
  • twitter Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of Legends
  • linkedin Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of Legends
  • facebook Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of Legends
  • googlebookmark Teaching Excellence: The Stuff of Legends
 

1 Comments

  1. Dean says:

    This is sad but very inspiring. I truly consider educators to be so very unique. This man sounded like he was exceptional and possessed the level of empathy which is needed to truly be so. Thank you for sharing.

Post a Comment


 

Educators Calendar Events

Featured Posts

The  SAT Controversy

The SAT Controversy

The news that the SAT’s will be modified to more appropriately accord with today’s high school academic experience has been met with both strong approval...

 
Charter Schools:  Bipartisanship Rises Up in Washington DC!

Charter Schools: Bipartisanship Rises Up in Washington DC!

 I was pleased to join Minnesota Congressman John Kline, chair of the House Education and Workforce Committee, as he announced new federal charter schools legislation...

 
Flipped Classrooms: Educational Revolution or Unrealistic Mistake?

Flipped Classrooms: Educational Revolution or Unrealistic Mistake?

  Hertz Furniture video blogger Mor Rossler discusses the flipped classroom. This style of teaching reverses the order in which learning and lessons are shaped....

 
Eliminating Racial Inequality in our Schools

Eliminating Racial Inequality in our Schools

 “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their...

 
Video: Inquiry-Based Learning vs. Direct Learning

Video: Inquiry-Based Learning vs. Direct Learning

  Should teachers serve primarily as presenters of predetermined material or facilitators of student-initiated learning? Hertz Furniture video blogger Mor...

 
Announcing the Launch of Hertz Furniture’s Educators’ Calendar of Events!

Announcing the Launch of Hertz Furniture’s Educators’ Calendar of Events!

If there is one universal fact of life for all teachers, it is this: teachers are busy! The list of daily tasks is seemingly infinite: marking papers, planning...

 
Charter School Growth for 2013-14: Celebration and Caution

Charter School Growth for 2013-14: Celebration and Caution

Guest Blogger: Ember Reichgott Junge The new numbers on growth of charter schools over the last year exceeded even my expectations.  The National Alliance...

 
Just Google it! Education in 2014

Just Google it! Education in 2014

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education” – Mark Twain Do grades matter anymore? According to one of the most influential companies...

 
A Modest Proposal: Pump Up the Homework*

A Modest Proposal: Pump Up the Homework*

America is in a state of crisis. It isn’t what you think. Yes, the country is polarized politically, and congress is earning some of the lowest approval ratings...

 
Open Door Policy? The Teachers Room and School Culture

Open Door Policy? The Teachers Room and School Culture

You can feel it the moment you walk into the building. Every school exudes a certain aura, an overall mood: it is the school’s culture. Some schools are warm...