What is the most important element of effective teaching? What comes to mind as you ponder this question? I've been thinking about this question for 30 years and have come to realize that the answer is relationships!
Relationships play a central role in the educational experience. Relationships between teachers and their students. Relationships between students and their classmates. Relationships between students and lesson content. Relationships between lesson content and real life.
Some say that relationships in education are not important, that it distracts from learning. But Cristina Nehring says in her article Higher Yearning that, “to say that relationship distracts from learning is like saying color distracts from seeing.” Relationships energize classrooms, breathe life into lessons, and deepen the learning experience. Relationships create a sense of community and a feeling of belonging.
Our massage family is made up of a large diverse group of people. We have no dress code, no secret handshake, no special chant. We are one big family of many hands and one shared love – the love of people – the love of humanity. And we express that love with massage therapy. Coming to conventions is like going to family reunions. One of the many reasons I support organizations such as AMTA and the Alliance is because they use a family model as part of their business philosophy.
Congratulations Tracie Livermore for your dedication to massage education and your for love of teaching. And thank you to the previous award winners. [APPLAUSE]
I struggled with homework and deadlines, stayed up late caring for a young child instead of studying — yes, I was a single parent.
I struggled with tests. I had holes in my educational background — yes I was a high school dropout. I sat in that classroom and thought “I am the dumbest person in this room.” Thank goodness I had loving massage parents who saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. They valued relationships. I was able to graduate only because they let me do “extra credit” work because I was failing anatomy.
Because if you want a great education, you must have great teachers.
Because if you want to access their minds you must first access their hearts.
Parker Palmer, author of The Courage to Teach, talks about listening or “hearing people to speech.” Students want to find their voices, to speak their voices, to have their voices heard. A good teacher listens to those voices even before they are spoken—so that someday they can speak with truth and with confidence.
Think about the role of grandparents. My Grandmother always had a plan, she let me explore her home and yard, and I discovered something new each time I was with her. She let me ask tons of questions and made time to answer them, she told stories, she accepted me for who I was, but did not put up with a lot of shenanigans. She kept her finger in the water – testing it. She knew when to push the accelerator and when to tap the brakes.
Connected, organized, and passionate teachers inspire students.
Believe in students and in their ability to think for themselves.
Take care of yourself, embrace spirituality, and see the potential in every student.
We shape the future of massage therapy. We are in the trenches with students giving them knowledge and skills. Initiating them into the family circle. We are the “change agent.” We are teaching therapists to change the world, one massage at a time. Thank you, Dianne.
Susan Salvo's Acceptance Speech for the Dianne Polseno Lifetime Achievement Award for educational excellence given during the teacher's luncheon at the AMTA National Convention 2014 in Denver, CO.