“You have to promise me something…” requested a real estate student a few years ago. I remember smiling when he finished, “You can’t retire until I’ve completed all three licensing courses.”
Some quick math at the time suggested I would be making at least a four-year commitment. It was tempting. I do enjoy teaching and really had no firm retirement plans but still managed to avoid the promise. After all, life happens.
I’m not sure it counts as a testimonial, but I did consider it a compliment. Unfortunately, I haven’t kept the data, but I do know there are many real estate licensees who’ve taken the three licensing courses with me. There are times when it makes me feel old. But it always makes me feel good.
So, if he’s reading this and hasn’t finished his journey, I’d like to assure him I’m not retiring. A few years ago, I did announce that I was giving up teaching because it’s supposed to be about learning. While I am not retiring I am taking another step in the direction of making it more about learning than it is about teaching.
Starting in 2018, I will become an adjunct instructor with The Real Estate Learning Group. I do so with eager anticipation of teaching “differently” using some exciting technology and what are commonly referred to as “blended” courses. These courses reflect the Kahn Academy model sometimes described as “flipping the classroom.”
Wikipedia describes the flipped classroom: “Flipped classroom is an instructional strategy and a type of blended learning that reverses the traditional learning environment by delivering instructional content, often online, outside of the classroom. It moves activities, including those that may have traditionally been considered homework, into the classroom.”
Don’t get me started or we’ll also have to discuss the Learning for Mastery (LFM) model—not often easily applied in required learning situations such as pre-licensing courses. We could stay up late discussing that one! In the simplest form, LFM is about student-centered instruction that’s more about learning than teaching.
From a practical perspective, joining The Real Estate Learning Group also means some new course locations and schedules. Stay tuned! I’m currently scheduled to teach the blended “fast track” Sales Agent Course in the Augusta area in January and the blended version of the Associate Broker Course in Bangor starting in January. Click the links for additional information and to register.
If you have any questions or concerns, please let me know. Many things will not change, including my commitment to helping students learn and master in a positive, enjoyable way. You can still find “brain leaks and musings” on my blog. I will also continue to publish the occasional issue of my Learning Opportunities E-newsletter.
“Thanks for another successful class! All three licenses have been garnered under your careful educational care!”
Recent Broker Student
- Associate Broker in Bangor, January 2018
- Sales Agent in Augusta, February 2018
My “back to school” shopping list includes brains! When I checked my supply I realized I had to reorder again this year.
Perhaps I should explain.
Dealing with test and quiz anxiety is typically a challenge for some adult learners. A few years ago I learned that using stress balls (sometimes called “squeezies”) can help restless children focus… the constant motion seems to release energy and allow the child to focus. So, I thought. “Why wouldn’t this work with adults taking quizzes and tests?”
My first experiment with the theory included a young man who was self-proclaimed “A.D.H.D.” and quite worried about taking quizzes and tests. He actually broke the stress ball I provided and encouraged him to use. But he also got a pretty good grade and thought having it helped. So I ordered some different ones that wouldn’t break and now offer them to all students prior to a quiz or test.
I was quite pleased to find “squeezies” in the shape of a brain. How much more appropriate could things be? Take a test–squeeze your brain! You might be surprised to discover what comes out!
They’ve proven quite popular with students. I’m also told they are quite popular with cats because they are fairly easy to bat around. And, of course, the jokes never get old–nor do the strange looks from the U.P.S. driver when I grab the box from him and announce, “My brains came! My brains came!”
A recent post on Facebook told the story of a teacher shopping for school supplies. She was approached by several parents shopping together (who had their school-aged children with them) and subsequently forced to listen to them complain about how much they were spending on back-to-school supplies and how teachers must think parents are made out of money. Apparently, they didn’t notice that the teacher was spending even more money than they. Her cart was full of things she needed and supplies to help out the students she knew would not have what was necessary.
It was an interesting story, certainly. The teacher handled a potentially ugly situation gracefully and sympathetically. I admired that but felt a real kinship with her when she described what she really wanted to say those parents.
Adults often “thing” children. We forget they are there and, more importantly, forget they are watching, listening and learning. It’s a mistake that’s easy to make. Even teachers must guard against it. We see them as “kids” or “students” and lose sight of the fact they are small people with big brains that are like sponges.
Not only did those parents not notice the teacher’s cart was full, they forgot there were little people watching, listening, and learning.
So the teacher wanted to remind those parents there were little people there and what they were hearing was, “School is not important enough to spend money on, teachers are not to be trusted, they have bad judgment, and learning does not require investment.”
In fairness to those parents, they (hopefully!) didn’t want their children to hear that. We sometimes call this “unintended consequences.”
I watched a child tugging on her mother’s hand as they walked down the street, almost yelling, “Mom! Mom!” Mom was totally focused on her cell phone screen and it appeared not even acknowledging the child. I don’t know what was so important on the phone. I don’t know why the child needed her mother. But I’m fairly sure I know the message the child was getting. I also know that a few simple words and eye contact with the child could have conveyed a very different message.
When it’s back to school shopping time–or school budget time–I believe all adults have a responsibility to “watch our words.” We may be frustrated at the expense while we’re shopping and angered with increasing budgets and taxes but because we’re adults we should be able to express our frustrations and anger in an appropriate manner.
Let’s not teach our kids to disrespect schools and teachers. Let’s be careful we do not devalue learning and education–even unintentionally.
Education is expensive. But it’s also important. Let’s teach our children both of those truths and model good problem-solving skills.
Sometimes unintended consequences can be good. Another time in a store, I heard a young child ask what might have been a fairly simple question–I honestly don’t remember it exactly, but it was relative to why something was where it was. The parent stopped and looked at it with the child then said, “That’s interesting. Why do you think it’s there?” I didn’t need to eavesdrop on the entire conversation to know that child was learning he and his thinking is important. I also hope to have that child in a classroom I’m teaching some day.
Thinking is not only allowed, it’s needed. Not just in classrooms, but in life.
Teachers are, I think, students just by nature of the profession. But in this case, I became a student both officially and formally by completing an online course offered by STEDI (Substitute Teacher Division, Utah State University) titled “Advanced Classroom Management.”
I wish I could tell you that it was a grueling and stressful experience. Truth be told, I’d actually taken an older version of the course some years ago. So this was a bit of a review and I was able to complete the self-paced course quickly. Being a typical adult learner, I undervalued the material–at least until I finished.
Then I remembered, sometimes the greatest value of a course is that it reinforces what you already know and increases your confidence. I use many of these techniques while teaching. They are integrated into the Substitute Teacher’s Workshop I offer in conjunction with several adult education programs. So, as the saying goes, “It’s all good.”
Students of all ages often ask, “Do we have to learn this?” I understand the question but also find it a sad one. What happened to the joy of learning?
Seth Godin recently posted some thoughts about the smoker’s lounge at the Helsinki Airport. (There’s still one there.) He observed that most smokers in the lounge didn’t look particularly happy. They had the appearance of doing something because they had to do it. He also observed many people standing about the lounge checking their phones. They didn’t seem particularly happy either–probably for the same reason. He wondered when we are going to start building social media lounges.
One thing to like about Seth is he makes you think. I’m not sure if his post is about addiction, human nature, social media or something else.
But I do know this: Things that initially bring us pleasure can easily turn into habit and drudgery. We continue to do them because we have to do them even though the value has diminished. That may include learning. But when we really start to think about it, the cigarettes, phones, and I would include lessons, do not change. We change–collectively and individually.
But when we really start to think about it, the cigarettes, phones, and I would include lessons, do not change. We change–collectively and individually–how we think about things and our attitude towards them.
Let’s make learning fun.