Smart Love of Learning is currently holding a contest to give one classroom (or school) an interactive whiteboard and all you have to do to enter is tell them who the best teacher in the world is. You can "like" them on Facebook and click the "win" button to enter. They also have ideas on Fundraising on their site to help PTA's and other groups obtain these magical tools.
While I would never claim to know who the best Teacher in the world is, I know one teacher that had a huge impact on me. It was my 11th grade Advanced Literature teacher. The class required a lot of reading of books (I thought) I wasn't interested in. Each day Mr. Spag (short for Spagnoulo) would recap chapters and encourage the class to participate in a discussion of what they thought characters such as Macbeth and Hamlet were thinking in different situations throughout the books. No answer was ever wrong. If you were brave enough to speak up, as I was, even after never reading the book, all ideas were met with a "Hmmm. I never thought of it that way", or a "Good...but did you think about this...". He encouraged participation and never made anyone feel stupid or wrong for doing so. He made me interested enough to go back and read the books I thought I had no use for. In high school we had the ability to choose our own classes and teachers. We made those choices based on recommendations from friends, teacher's we had had in the past, how long they gave you to complete term papers. We were even shallow enough to choose those most pleasing to the eyes. Mr. Spag could have used a cure for hair loss and I hadn't had him previously. I don't remember the exact reason I chose his class. It may have been that he was the only teacher teaching Advanced Lit in the time slot I had selected it. Whatever the reason, I'm glad I ended up there. Encouragement and the ability to make students feel open to speak their minds, no matter what was on it, made this teacher one of the best I ever had.
I took the kids to Water Country yesterday and two Moms were talking about their kids schools and one mentioned something that sounded very much like the Interactive whiteboard. She said the teacher can talk and every kid can see what she is talking about. She was saying how fun her kids thought it was and how much more they were participating. I'm not sure it was the same thing but the parent seemed very pleased with their child's new found excitement.
My children are still young so it thrills me that new technology is being created to continue to peak their interest. A love of learning is a great trait to carry into adult hood.
I wrote this post while participating in a blog tour for Momcentral and will be compensated for my time. The views are solely mine.