Teachers give students a truly educational gift

April 20, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau

Receiving a book at commencement is nothing new for students who have finished the program at the Grand Canyon University’s College of Education. But this year students will be leaving with something more personal — a book produced by 27 educators from GCU, with a foreword by President Brian Mueller, that brings together heartfelt and unforgettable memories about teaching.

Teaching - book

The first edition of “Teaching: A Calling of Passion and Purpose” shares a glimpse into teaching.

In previous years at commencement, Scholastic Inc. presented the college with a large number of copies of “Why We Teach by Linda Alston, an inspiring array of anecdotes from classroom experiences. But Kimberly LaPrade, dean of COE, had a different idea last summer when she turned to her colleagues and alumni to collect stories, quotes and Bible verses and composed the COE’s first book, “Teaching: A Calling of Passion and Purpose.”

The 90-page book, also being sold at the Lope Shop for $7.99, arms students with motivational stories and instructional strategies for learning, leading and serving.

The idea, was  to have stories that were inspirational, kind of like a ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul,’ for GCU students as they embark in their careers, Marjaneh Gilpatrick, executive director of educational outreach said.

Gilpatrick contributed with a piece about how reading “Harry Potter” became a family reading affair.

One preschool director, Karla Woods,  shares three personal pieces of advice for first-year teachers.

Joyce Jamerson describes how she answered her calling to teach, and Emily Bergquist, Meredith DeCosta and Sheila Damiani share the benefits of social networking for teachers.

Debbie Rickey, COE associate dean, shared an unintended learning experience during her first year as a principal, when she realized that sometimes the most enriching lessons are not on the lesson plan.

Thomas Dyer, online full-time faculty, wrote “Fill a Bucket or Light a Fire? Motivating Students Takes Passion,” inspired by a quote for teachers from W.B. Yeats.

“A lot of times as educators we try to pile a ton of information into a bucket, and as we take that bucket with us it gets heavy and tends to overflow,” Dyer said. “Rather than regurgitating bucket-fillers, we should aim to demonstrate passion by getting involved in finding out what they’re interested in.

“If you think about it,” he added, “in life, we want to have less things to do and more things that make us excited.”

As the title of the book says, teaching is a calling of passion and purpose and is truly a noble profession, Gilpatrick said.

“When I think about teaching, I think about throwing a pebble into the ocean — the ripple gets bigger and bigger. That’s the impact students will have on future generations,” she said.

GCU’s stated mission is to help students find their purpose, but faculty hopes that the book will inspire students to do something with that purpose, Dyer said.

The college hopes to release a series of the book for its future students.

Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or jeannette.cruz@gcu.edu.

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