I learned one of the most important lessons in my entire teaching career during an evacuation drill.

I was standing in the bleachers of our school stadium waiting for the office to issue the “All Clear” and send us back to class.  Even then I understood that fire, evacuation, and lockdown drills were an important part of the public school experience, but I was worried about the lost instructional time and already mulling over how I would adjust the lesson to make up for what we missed. Surely, I reasoned, thinking about these things during the drill proved that I was a conscientious and responsible teacher.

But then I looked down at the football field and saw Mr. Ross, our history and government teacher, with his Senior AP class.  I already knew Mr. Ross was one of the brightest and wisest teachers on our staff, but I was stunned when I saw his class sitting in a semi-circle, criss-cross applesauce, textbooks on their laps.  Mr. Ross held his own textbook open and was teaching them the next lesson he hoped would improve their scores on the upcoming AP Test.  For a long while, I just watched in awe as he held court and his students jotted their notes.

What did I learn that day?

I learned that:

You don’t need a computer to teach.
You don’t need Google Docs to teach.
You don’t need an iPad to teach.
You don’t need a large screen projection system to teach.
You don’t need a white board or dry erase markers to teach.
While they might be helpful, you probably don’t need textbooks to teach, either.
As Mr. Ross proved that day, you don’t even need a CLASSROOM to teach.
Turns out, there are only two things you need to teach:

1) The desire to teach.

2) The guts to do it when it needs to be done.

Everything else is decoration.  TZT