Random Thoughts IV: The Passion of Teaching
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Random Thoughts IV: The Passion of Teaching

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Author:   Louis Schmier

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Let’s Do the Hokey Pokey!

A few years back, George Will wrote that what we choose to believe, how we dream to live, how we strive to make those ideals become reality, we make self-validating. In that spirit, I’m going to talk about one of my self-evident truths, which I choose to believe, how I dream to live, how I strive to make it and other allied self-evident truths my reality.

In academia, there is something that is often so deadening that it sucks the life out of teaching and learning, something so often depressing that it reduces focus to information gathering and transmission and exiles people to unnoticed corners, something so bland that it is devoid of emotional intensity, something so stagnating that it doesn’t stir the imaginative and creative juices. That something is passion. Now, I am not talking about being passionate about or dedicated to one’s discipline or to the practice of research and publication. I am talking about being passionate about teaching and being dedicated to each student’s learning. So, here is my take on the importance of passion in education, on what I call “hokey pokey teaching.” And, it starts like this:


You put your whole self in;
you put your whole self out;
you put your whole self in;
and you shake it all about.

You do the Hokey-Pokey,
And you turn yourself around
That’s what it’s all about!


Now that is passion! If you have ever danced the Hokey Pokey you know what I mean. It’s really an exciting experience. And, Hokey Pokey teaching! That’s what it’s all about!


Reviews: "Random Thoughts may seem to be about college education, but it’s really about the most important issues in life and relationships: authenticity, integrity, passion, calling, vulnerability, and love.  Anyone who reads this book, from any walk of life, will be touched, humbled, and inspired.  And if you take to heart what Louis Schmier offers, and you begin to see your fellow humans differently, you will be astounded at the ways your life changes and the positive impact you make."

Judi Neal

Director, Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace

Sam M. Walton College of Business

University of Arkansas



"I became aware of Louis Schmier’s Random Thoughts on a listserv for faculty developers.  Louis is a humanist and I am always in awe of the high regard he has for his students and the craft of teaching evidenced in each and every one of his thoughts.  He truly inspires me to be a better person and teacher here at Purdue."

Dr Mick La Lopa

Associate Professor and Department Head

School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

Purdue University


"Louis has captured here the inspiration and insights that we can engage to be effective teachers and learners."  

Milton D. Cox

Director, Lilly International Conference on College Teaching


"This fourth volume of Random Thoughts contains essays similar to Louis Schmier’s earlier essays.  They will appeal to readers who appreciate the power of “story” and strong reflections on teaching and learning."

Barbara J. Millis, Ph.D

Director, Teaching and Learning Center

The University of Texas at San Antonio


About the Author: Louis Schmier is a Professor of History at Valdosta State University in Georgia, where he has taught since 1971. He is an inspirational teacher and philosopher. His "Random Thoughts" have been appearing on the Internet in educational listserves since April of 1993. Although he teaches at a university, his comments apply to all levels of education.
Details: 2012 [ISBN: 1-58107-234-1; 264 pages; 6 x 9 inch; soft cover]