“Every student should have a person who want to help him or her help him – or herself become the person he or she is capable of becoming, and I’ll be damned if I am ever going to let one human being fall through the cracks in my classes without a fight.”
|My name is Louis Schmier. The first name rhymes with phooey, the last with beer. Since I believe everything we do starts from who we are inside how about if I first say some things about myself. Then, I can ease into other things. I am a 68 year old – in body, but not in mind or spirit – born and bred New Yorker who came south in 1963. I power walk 5 miles every other pre – dawn morning. That’s my essential meditative “Just to …” time. I am an avid gardener. I love to cook on my wok. Loving to work with my hands as well as with my heart and mind, I built a three room master complex addition to the house. And, I am a “fixer-upper” who does not allow any repairman to step across the threshold. Oh, by the way, I received my Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina and have been teaching at Valdosta State University in Georgia since 1967. I currently hold the rank of Professor of History. I prefer the title, “Teacher”.Fifteen years ago, I had what I consider an “epiphany”. It changed my understanding of myself and my approach to teaching. My teaching has taken on the character of a mission. It is a journey that has taken me from seeing only myself to a commitment to vision larger than myself and my self-interest. I now believe that being an educator means I am in the “people business”. I now believe that the most essential element in education is caring about people. Education without caring, without a real human connection, is as viable as a person with a brain but without a heart.So, when I am asked what I teach, I answer unhesitatingly, “I teach students”. I am now more concerned with the students’ learning than my teaching, more concerned with the students as human beings than with the subject. I am more concerned with reaching for students than reaching the height of professional reputation. I believe the heart of education is to educate the heart. The purpose of teaching is to instill in all students genuine, loving, lifelong eagerness to learn and foster a life of continual growth and development. It should encourage and assist students in developing the basic values needed for learning and living: self-discipline, self-confidence, self-worth, integrity, honesty, commitment, perseverance, responsibility, pursuit of excellence, emotional courage, creativity, imagination, humility, and compassion for others.
In April, 1993, I began to share ME on the internet: my personal and professional rites of passage, my beliefs about the nature and purpose of an education, a commemoration of student learning and achievement, my successful and not so successful experiences, a proclamation of faith in students, and a celebration of teaching. These electronic sharings are called “Random Thoughts”. There are now over 600 of them floating out there in cyberspace. The first 185, which chronicles the beginnings of my journey, have been published as collections in three volumes, RANDOM THOUGHTS: THE HUMANITY OF TEACHING, RANDOM THOUGHTS, II: TEACHING FROM THE HEART and RANDOM THOUGHTS, III: TEACHING WITH LOVE. The chronicle of my continued journey is on its way in RANDOM THOUGHTS, IV: THE PASSION OF TEACHING and RANDOM THOUGHTS, V: TEACHING WITH COMPASSION and a few more untitled volumes.
“Touch one student and you’ve changed the world.”