I had one teacher that always comes to mind when I have been asked who was my favorite teacher. I don’t remember her name and I didn’t really like her. She was one tough egg. She never let anyone off the hook. When I was one of her math students, I thought that she was ruthless. Even the weakest student was asked to publicly search for the right answer. She was relentless. The more hesitant you were, the more you were called on. Even when I had the answer I never raised my hand. I went to the board often, as she regularly had the seemingly least prepared go up to the chalkboard and complete the equation. Despite her lack of people skills I will always consider her the best teacher I have ever had. She cared about us so much that she wanted each of us to understand math as well as to learn math.
“WE ALL NEED SOMEONE WHO INSPIRES US TO DO BETTER THAN WE KNOW HOW” Anonymous
Mrs., whats her name did what good teachers do, She engaged and involved the individual students. We were asked (well not quite asked) to contribute. I would have learned something just listening to her instructions, but I really understood the math because I had been asked to participate. To succeed in her class I had to conquer the subject and learn to raise my hand. The students came up with the answers and left her class with an understanding of the process. I have read of many studies that show that an effective teacher is that teacher who draws the students into the conversation. They have a willingness to allow the students feel that they are equally responsible for their education.
I am not sure I got a chance to say “thank you”. I probably had the chance, but this wasn’t part of my teen age vocabulary.
” THE DELICATE BALANCE OF MENTORING SOMEONE IS NOT CREATING THEM IN YOUR OWN IMAGE, BUT GIVING THEM THE OPPORTUNITY TO CREATE THEMSELVES.”
Lately I have been witness to a slew of young musicians entering Detroit’s jazz scene. They obviously are products of today’s teachers and mentors. Jazz has always been taught in Detroit just like my Mrs. whats her name. They know and understand their subject.and seem to instinctively understand how to engage their young students.
“TELL ME AND I FORGET. TEACH ME AND I MAY REMEMBER. INVOLVE ME AND I LEARN” Benjamin Franklin
Detroit has a tradition of tough instruction that demands hard work and focus combined with a sense of tradition
I have always thought that Detroit is where jazz goes to school. Detroit certainly has always had a tradition of producing A list jazz artists. More importantly, for decades they have had A list teachers. They are in the schools and in neighborhoods and playing alongside the young players at the clubs and on their recordings.
THIS WEEK AT THE DIRTY DOG: MARCUS ELLIOT
This coming week Marcus Elliot is the bandleader who will bring first class jazz to the Dirty Dog Jazz Café, which is regarded as possibly the best club in the world. This is the same Marcus Elliot that was not too long ago under the wing of his friend and mentor the late great Marcus Belgrave and just a few years out of that brilliant music program at State University. We will once again realize the benefits of the great teachers in our jazz community. Come on out To the Dirty Dog and share in our bounty.
In future blogs I would like to explore what has made teaching and mentoring so successful in producing Detroit’s great jazz artists and acknowledge the teachers who are keeping the music alive.