We’re All Teachers

Right to our own backyard. Park and Rec professionals and children’s camp staff are often in the teaching role. They inform, direct and evaluate the public, their campers as well as the conservancies and governing authorities about vital information.  These “teachers” need to understand all aspects of nature as well as grants, budgets, maintenance, environments, etc.  We cannot dispense inaccurate information and expect our constituents to support our levy, contribute to our programs and endorse our initiatives.  We’re talking about commitment here, folks and our industry requires it.  You need to commit to seeing the whole picture and all that is connected to it.  What pillar do you provide to your company?  Strong, reliable employees are well-versed, informed and connected.

I recall one elementary school teacher that set very high standards.  She used to keep a little box in the back of the room. If any of us heard anyone in the classroom utter a grammatical mistake, we would write it down on paper, put it in the box and every Friday, the mistakes would be distributed to their “owners.” We would then go around the room and stand and correct our mistakes orally for all to hear. It was at first humiliating but then we noticed it started to work. We were careful about what we said in the room and it started to spill over into home life. It was all a matter of good habits developed by this very stern, very strictly teacher – who had us aspire to a higher standard. To this day I have that knee-jerk reaction when I hear a grammatical error.

Here are a few I hear daily that have me searching for that little scrap of paper to drop in the box.

  • This is where we are at.
  • I want to say thanks on behalf of Joe, Ed and myself.
  • I just want to say something before we get started.
  • My first and highest and number one-priority is to stop saying redundant things.
  • Just put your John Henry on that page and we’re all set.
  • He needs to lose up to 25 pounds or more.
  • I’m almost taller than you.
  • Wait until they are in close proximity.

We are all teachers, folks. My kids have complained their whole lives because when they would ask me a question I would always begin my response with, “Well what do you think?” It would always lead them to begin to develop answers and solutions without being told.  Independent thinking; a teaching method that simply asks people to depend on and think for themselves.

Ron Ciancutti is the Director of Procurement for Cleveland Metroparks. He is not on Facebook, but he can be reached at rdc@clevelandmetroparks.com.


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