Lessons From Downton Abbey

My husband and I just watched the final season of Downton Abbey. We waited until the season was over so we could watch the entire thing over a few consecutive evenings.

Spoiler alert, if you are a fan and have not yet watched. Although not a big one.

Mr. Mosley finally gets to fulfill his dream of becoming a teacher. His entire credentials are the success he has on a general knowledge test. (Remember, it’s 1925.) As we watch him go merrily off to his First Day Ever teaching, I’m already anticipating disaster. Naturally, my suspicions play out because yes, there is much more to teaching than knowing content stuff. As he begins to scratch dates and names on the chalkboard, the class begins passing notes. By the end, all is in complete chaos. He thought his charges would be interested in history like he is! He thought he could impart his knowledge and they would absorb, willingly and effortlessly. Poor Mr. Mosley.

On the advice of his friend Mrs. Baxter, Mr. Mosley tries a different tactic on Day Two. He puts aside instruction and focuses instead on developing a relationship with his students. He connects with them on a personal level and meets their honest questions with equal honestly. He lets them know he cares about their learning, without ever explicitly saying so. Then he begins the history lesson again, this time bringing in the element of humanity, even among kings of old, and students are curious and engaged.

The only thing far fetched about this situation is the time line.

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