SCOTT DREYER: “Just because it’s online…”

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Since becoming a teacher in 1987, I have tried to maintain my credibility by being honest with my students and “telling it like it is”. In fact, it was during my freshman or sophomore year teaching in Henrico County, Virginia, that I read an advice column by Ann Landers or her twin sister Abigail Van Buren, better known as “Dear Abby”, on the topic “How to talk to teenagers.” As a new high school teacher, I realized I needed all the help I could get. A gem was, “Tell us the truth. We can handle it.

So, I try not to lie to my students. However, over the years there have been times when I’ve said something to my classes, only to have a student challenge me in class or else come back a day or two later and point out that what I taught was wrong. When I realize I’ve made a mistake, I try to apologize immediately and give the class the correct and updated information. Usually, I then add, half-jokingly, “When I told you (false information) the first time, I meant it…but i was honestly wrong.”

This flashback of my class in the late 1980s came to mind while reading a new email. As posted here on April 6, I’ve included a moving poem about habits called “Who am I?” Wanting to give proper credit, I did some research on the web and from every source I checked, John Di Lemme was cited as the poet. “If all these pages match, Di Lemme is surely the author”, I concluded.

But no!

The following polite email set me straight.

Hello,

Thank you for updating this information in the article. John certainly doesn’t want to be recognized for someone else’s work.

Truly,

Christie Di Lemme

His email in turn gave me two thoughts:

1. “Just because it’s online, it doesn’t have to be” pardon my grammar. Without going down too many rabbit holes or blowing too many people’s heads, how many “facts” over the past two or three years, say, “everyone” has agreed, to be proved false? Likewise, how many ideas scornfully dismissed as “conspiracy theories” or “disinformation” have, under closer scrutiny, been turned out to be true?

2. How refreshing to see an example of humility. John Di Lemme, who has achieved considerable fame and success as a communicator and business coach, doesn’t want to steal someone else’s thunder and get credit for someone else’s work.

You learn something new every day!

–Scott Dreyer

Scott Dreyer MA in his class. Dreyer, of Roanoke, has been a certified teacher since 1987 and now leads a team of educators teaching English and ESL to a global audience. Their website is DreyerCoaching.com.


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