Teach like a dog: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

5:51am     Manton Consolidated Schools will be closed due to the impending storm…

My first thought (like many humans), an hour extra sleep!  I’ll work from home rather than risk the 55 mile drive to work.

6:45am     Gypsy, my dog, expressed different thoughts. “Mom, mom, time to get up for our walk!  We are going, right?  It’s snowing and windy out and so exciting, I can’t wait to go!!!”

6:50am     Gypsy upped the ante, bringing me my walking pants. 

Clearly our idea of what makes a morning walk great are very different.  She is an awesome dog though, always my best cheerleader greeting me when I’m home.  I know she’d go the extra mile for me, so I obligingly get my gear on and we head out into the blowing white.  Although to me it all pretty much looks the same–varying shades of white and grey–she clearly is having a ball.  Darting from spot to spot, sometimes sniffing and moving on, sometimes digging under the snow pack.  She is a lot faster than I am, but she keeps checking back to make sure I’m keeping up and staying with her.  She’s in her element, and I’m just plodding along behind for the ride.

When we teach, our students may not be as excited as us about our content.  They also might look out and see the readings, projects, ideas and more as just a bunch of stuff to get done, having no idea of what excitement is found beneath the surface.  They often fall behind at times, getting bogged down in areas they aren’t skilled or prepared to navigate through yet.

Have we built a positive relationship with our students so they want to follow us even when the learning is challenging?  Have we shared our passion for our subject, and aroused their curiosity as to what we find fascinating about our subject?  Have we made sure we are always in sight of our students, able to go faster or slower depending on what they need?  Do we provide frequent feedback to guide their learning?

I wouldn’t have gone out this morning if it wasn’t for her enthusiasm and encouragement, and I would have missed all the beauty of a Michigan winter day from her perspective.

Every class we teach is an opportunity to share our subject’s beauty and complexity with our students.
Teach like a dog.


Barnes, C. (2016). Where’s the Teacher? Defining the Role of Instructor Presence and Cognition in Online Education. Book [E-reader version] (pp. ). Retrived from https://humanmooc.pressbooks.com/chapter/wheres-the-teacher-defining-the-role-of-instructor-presence-in-social-presence-and-cognition-in-online-education/

Essa, A. (2016).  3 ‘Knowns’ in Learning Science—and How to Apply Them in Practice,   Edsurge Newsletter, accessed online 12Feb2019. 

Kauffman, H. (2015, August 27). A review of predictive factors of student success in and satisfaction with online learning. Research in Learning Technology, 23(1). Doi:10.3402/rlt.v23.26507

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