Everybody Clap Your Hands

There is a celebrity educator renowned among teachers for his bestselling books and the extraordinary commitment he has made to fostering the success of disadvantaged students. His achievements and advice are laudable, as is his practice of funding his school with the honorariums he earns as a popular speaker. Anyone would be thrilled to have him looking after the learning of their child. And yet, despite my admiration for all that he has done for children and teachers alike, there is one quirky aspect of his personality that makes me cringe. He is known for spontaneously mounting desks and tables and proceeding to dance.

Now, I have nothing against people dancing. For all I care, the whole of my community can shimmy about as a choreographed flash mob the next time I’m out and about town. I will smile charitably and perhaps even enjoy the display. Just don’t ask me to boogie along. Primal as the urge to dance supposedly is, I have never felt the compulsion to bust a move. Just the opposite, in fact. Never am I happier to remain seated than when a group of revelers is dancing. My reluctance to dance is little different than, say, your dismissal of foods you do not like. It’s just not for me. I simply do not enjoy it.

But the dancing celebrity educator sees it differently. Not only does he literally put himself on a pedestal and shake his groove thing, he expects everyone else to follow his lead. Whether he is addressing his student body or a convention hall full of teachers, he expects every last soul to clap along. Read More

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