What makes a super teacher? Perseverance. Truth. A true love of children.
Teaching is demanding. Period.
This page is a tribute to a teacher that has improved the reading skills of
hundreds of students - after school.
After a successful career in Education my father, Sylvester Cain, spent his days teaching children the Phonics sounds.
He taught homeschoolers during the day and school children on their way home from school. He moved all the furniture from his living room.
All of the Moms and siblings were welcome.
This is a tribute to him as one who had
studied education from many sides all the way through to a PhD in Education and eventually working in the Department of Education.
He ended spending his retirement practicing what his Kindergarten teacher had wished he would have practiced decades earlier.
I'd like to call out my Dad as one of the most persevering teachers I've ever known.
He'd already had a very successful career in education and had worked at a high level in the Department of Education ever since the days from when it had been under the umbrella Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.
Because he was disillusioned with what he saw happening in the government version of education, he retired early taking Reagan's RIF, Reduction in Force.
He then spent several years teaching such things as history at a private school. He later retired "for real".
Mom and Dad had had many close friends. They had helped many young families in their area. Because of this close contact with people, they began to realize that there was a great need to help parents to help their own children learn to read and write.
So, at seventy, he drove to Arizona - hundreds of miles to Phoenix to learn Phonics. I love saying that.
He spent nine weeks taking the teacher training at Spalding Education International (SEI) so that he could return home to help others learn Phonics for reading using the Orton/Spalding style.
I believe that he eventually became a certified Spalding instructor, a process that takes a minimum of three years and classroom teaching.
The very first weekend he returned home, Thanksgiving weekend he began to teach our children and their cousins the phonics sounds to the 70 phonograms.
Whew! That must have taken a world of patience. He was a super teacher, explaining the sounds of the phonograms carefully to both parents and children. In other words, he included all who came to the short classes. Immediately, several mothers began inviting friends till our dining rooms were full.
There were so many of us that endured the extra trouble of traveling to each other's homes after school, that he offered to have the classes immediately after school at his own home. It was an excellent location at the intersection between two grade schools so that many of the local school children could simply stop on their walk home.
I think that the real benefit is that he invited all of us to join the class.
The parents learned how the children were learning (and caught a few distracted children), so that the children could practice at home.
He even showed us how to be sure to hold the phonogram cards correctly so that two cards, or the wrong cards, would not show; so that we could practice over the weekends.
Just a quick fifteen minutes practice a day by the time that Christmas break finished that year, just one month, one of our own sons was very much handier with reading, to the point that his first grade teacher made the unsolicited comment that, "Whatever Grandpa is doing is great!"
Within the next semester, one of our daughters pulled her very low spelling average up to an 85 which never dipped after that time. She herself is a teacher now.
Within the first two years there were many children who were rescued for the grade level that they had been studying.
In the course of the few years remaining before his final illness, he had helped over sixty families for free. Yes, all gratis. All of us are grateful for his excellent example of dedication to others.
May God rest his good soul and grant that we all have such a super teacher in our lives!
Having been in not only education at various levels and in teaching many courses - even Driver's Ed; he could see that what had been policy in the Federal Government was not good for children.
His vision was to help others see through the lies and the deception and to help children learn the basics of reading and writing.
In the 1980s he had helped education researchers like Mrs. Charlotte Iserbyt of deliberate dumbing down of america (sic), Mrs. Phyllis Schlafly of Child Abuse in the Classroom, and others to obtain the documents necessary to prove that there was a deliberate effort to ruin American education.
How do I know? Mrs. Iserbyt shared this information in a touching note after my father's death. Their works are history now.
May God rest their souls and guide us in our work teaching our own and future children.
You might like to see these excellent teaching resources:
The Writing Road To Reading - Romalda Spalding's classic Writing Road To Reading for teaching children to read and write. Her one book teaches you how to teach reading, writing, handwriting, phonics, and more from Kindergarten to 12th grade.
Printable Phonics Worksheets - Free printable phonics worksheets and phonics videos using phonogram flash cards for teaching phonics with the Orton system.