Sedalia 200 teachers and administrators were reminded of the important roles they play
in students’ lives during a presentation Tuesday, Jan. 3, by Dr. Debbie Silver, an
education author and speaker.

Silver is a retired educator who has taught at every grade level from first through 12th.
Her comments Tuesday, mixed with humor and personal history, were focused on the
importance of connecting with students and why teachers need to set aside personal
issues to present the best version of themselves to kids every day.

“You have to be somebody who realizes that you are the single most significant factor in
kids’ lives,” she said. “How do you connect with kids? Because without those
connections, nothing much is going to happen."

Silver stressed that teachers’ mission should be to give all students a reasonable chance at success every day. She also said she believes students today are the same, but the world has changed.

“I think kids are starved for the undivided, focused attention of the adults in their lives,
and they are getting it less and less and less,” Silver said. “There are a lot of reasons for that … The very least we can do is say hello to every child that we see, to smile at every child that we see. The least we can do is be friendly."

Another topic was addressing students’ different learning profiles and paces, and the
importance of evolving as a teacher to find more ways to connect all students to relevant content. She shared the quotation: “We may not always be able to reach every student, but we must reach for every student."

Superintendent Dr. Todd Fraley found Silver’s presentation to be the right note to start
the second semester.

“After a much-deserved winter break, our staff was able to reconnect with our
educational purpose with a fun but focused message about students’ needs,” Fraley said. “Dr. Silver had all of us laughing and learning together.”

In the photo: Education author and speaker Debbie Silver addresses the need for optimism and student connections during her presentation for Sedalia 200 teachers and administrators on Jan. 3 in the Heckart Performing Arts Center on the Smith-Cotton High School campus.

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