Ever have a teacher say something that becomes planted in your brain forever? Yes, teachers do aspire to inspire their students; I often hope I’m speaking words that will push my students to proofread their work, or clean up their Facebook, or read a newspaper, or keep their PR career options open. While teachers may not always be profound, sometimes their words have staying power.
I’ve been thinking back to some of what my teachers said–ideas and phrases which have stayed with me–and have sometimes inspired me.
I remember in high school Mr. Horstmann told us never to use the word “they” as in “They say it’ll rain tonight.” He’d ask us, “Just who is this ‘they,’ anyway? You’ve got to be specific and define your terms.”
My biology teacher Mr. Kalina advised us not to ever risk thinking we know everything. “When you know what you don’t know, then you’re on your way,” he’d say. He also once told us, “Wherever you go, that’s where you are.” I have no idea why I remember that silly line; maybe it’s because it was so perfectly logical.
I remember Professor John Hanc (now my dear friend and mentor) defining journalism as “The truth, well told,” a phrase I’ve since used to also describe public relations. It turns out “Truth well told” was also a credo adopted by the McCann ad agency in 1912. It stuck with me.
Dr. Matthew Schure, a professor, college president and my former boss, introduced me to the often-used maxim, “The best predictor of future performance is past performance.” As I’ve grown older I’ve found this life lesson to be extremely accurate.
And then there was Dr. Adrienne O’Brien, another of my wonderful grad school professors, who gave on-target professional advice: “Whatever your public relations skills, when changing jobs the only thing you really bring with you is your reputation.”
I wonder which teachers of yours said something that has had staying power over the years. Maybe after you share them they’ll stick to our brains, too. Your thoughts?