Impactful teachers devise a plan to transfer knowledge

As with most children, teachers made a difference in my life. I was enrolled in the first grade at Flemingsburg, Kentucky in 1959 without the benefit of kindergarten. I was only 5 years old and was amazed at the activity in the room. Since we moved around a lot, Mom and Dad had few social interactions. Mostly, the people I had known up to that point were my immediate family.

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Zachery, was a kind, smiling woman who was easy to get along with. I have a picture of her wearing that comforting smile. When Mom asked her at a teacher’s conference how I was doing, she thought and said, “He notices everything.” I believe that was her polite way of saying I didn’t do well on my work because I had to look around all the time.

I had Mrs. Martin for my second grade. She was equally pleasant but more demanding. Earlier, she was my older brother Joe’s teacher and therefore I was “Little Joe” for the whole year.

The teaching process got more serious as we moved to Beallsville and I entered the third grade. Mrs. Steed was the most stern-looking and acting teacher I ever had. It didn’t help my situation that she and Dad had a perpetual conflict that occasionally sparked. Mrs. Powell had me for the fourth grade. I don’t remember a lot about her other than she had blue hair and it was the year Kennedy died.

Mrs. Mann in the fifth grade changed my life. Each day after lunch, she read a chapter or two of “Tom Sawyer,” “Little House on the Prairie,” or “Big Red.” I was enthralled and ran to the library to get more books written by the same authors. I have loved reading ever since.

Mr. Mallett in the sixth grade taught me not to pick my ears with anything smaller than a football even though I often saw him use a nail file for the same purpose. My seventh grade teacher, Mrs. Raikes, was a tall woman whose makeup ended at her jaw line and her white skin reminded me of a frog belly.

Every year of my life I have been impacted by teachers. From Mrs. Zachery making school a comfortable place to Mrs. Mann igniting my love for reading and every year since, I have learned from professional teachers and others. A great deal of the behaviors of a good leader is that of teaching. They develop people who report to them. They teach them processes and techniques that create success or make the job easier or more efficient. They pass on all the knowledge they have that is needed for the success of the organization. Think about those who have taught you the things you value and how you feel about them. Think about who needs to know what you know and make a plan to transfer that knowledge. People will remember you for years.

R. Glenn Ray, Ph.D., is the president of RayCom Learning. To learn more about Ray’s completely revised, third printing of “The Facilitative Leader: Behaviors that Enable Success,” visit his website, or call him at 740-629-4536. Everyday Leadership appears each Wednesday on the Business page.