Did you ever have a teacher who changed your life? I had one, and I still think about him.
He was really good at communicating with students. Without talking down to us, he described complex ideas in ways we could understand. He used simple words and analogies.
But more important, he looked for special skills in each of us. One of the girls was a terrific sketch artist. Whenever we worked on a group project he’d ask her to illustrate our report.
One guy had a unique voice. The teacher encouraged him to speak frequently in class. He became a nationally known talk show host.
What gifts do you see in family members, or in the people you work with? If you point that out with a timely compliment, your words might positively change that person’s life.
How many teachers made a lasting impact on you? Who’s helped you understand the world’s influential literature?
Cliff Hillegass was a person who helped me greatly. Maybe he helped you, too. Ever heard of Cliff’s Notes?
His books offered plot summaries, and helped high school and college students better comprehend the classics. And they also reminded students that “A thorough appreciation of literature allows no shortcuts.” That’s why I always tried to read the original book first.
For me, Cliff’s Notes offered me an added dimension. They let me examine a book through different eyes. They made me appreciate what I’d read even more, by listening to the perspective of others.
Today, whenever I’m asked to write a report, I try to present it two ways. First, I offer a detailed viewpoint. But at the end, I include a brief summation to make sure the reader grasps the most important points.
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