Those Who Can, Teach!

Those Who Can, Teach!
Helen Taft: Sports and Popular Culture

Skill: Elementary School
Time Required: Two class periods


Like Abigail Fillmore, Lucy Hayes, and other First Ladies before her, Helen Taft spent some time before her marriage as a schoolteacher.  In those days, and even now, sometimes, people tend to think that teaching is something one does if he or she can’t do anything else.  Not True!


Students who participate in this activity will learn something about the profession of teaching from first-hand observation and interviewing of their own teachers.

Materials Required:

Paper and pencils for taking notes Pictures of teachers in various activities from newspapers and magazines (optional)


1.  Divide students into groups of two or three. 
2.  After a short discussion with the whole class about gaining knowledge from observation, and establishing that students are very good observers of their own teacher, each group should brainstorm a list of daily activities of their teacher (you!). 
3.  When their lists are completed, each group should meet with you to verify that their lists are accurate.  At this time, you may add additional insights to their observations about your own experience as a teacher. 
4.  After all the interviews are complete, each group should share its list with the whole class, writing items from the list on the board. 
5.  When all the lists are on the board, the class should study the lists, eliminating duplicates, and then deciding which of the activities are the most important to them.  The teacher (you!) can then rank-order the list in terms of those that you think are the most important.
6.  Are the two lists similar?  Different?  An interesting discussion may very well ensue! 

Extending the Lesson:

This lesson might be extended by asking each student to write a short essay around the title, “Those Who Can, Teach!”  The essay may be illustrated with drawings or cut-out pictures.

Sources & Resources:

A Teacher’s Life
This lesson plan was developed by Averil McClelland, Kent State University.