The interview I conducted with Nanci Brillant, Osceola County 2013 Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the state of Florida. The interview lasted about 45 minutes from start to finish, and during that process, I tried to be an active and engaged listener. I did have to remember to make eye contact; it is not a regular habit yet. Because I had reviewed my questions thoroughly, I was comfortable with our talking. The challenge was trying gather all of the information in one sitting. And sometimes when we were conversing, being able to relate or make personal connections.
There were three main points concerning listening that I took away from the interview process with Ms. Brillant: Listening as a skill, Filtering through what you have listened to, and moving forward with a decisions after you have listened and filtered.
I realized after talking with her that it is hard to listen. It is most definitely a skill, as she stated in her interview, and people have to be taught to listen. Her example about listening in the classroom made me realize that it really must be a skill to be aware of what is happening in the classroom at the same time you are “listening” to someone and giving them your full attention.
When she spoke about filtering, I realized how important it was sift through the information that was being presented and sort it, usually by order of urgency or importance.
Moving forward with a decision was the final point she discussed that I had not really thought about before, but it made sense. She stated that after a person actively listens, and then filtered out what was important, they had to move forward with a decision, especially as a classroom teacher. It almost seemed that some professions like teaching have decisions embedded in decisions, all based from listening.
I think she was right when she said that these three things can’t be divided and still have an expected, successful outcome.
During the process of interviewing her, it really surprised me that the amount of decisions a teacher makes in the classroom is probably in the hundreds, through the course of a day with 7 classes. That is staggering. And to hope that all of them are good …. That is a career where I can see that listening is an invaluable skill.