Inspirational Message
Robert B. Ingram, Ph.D.

(At the Region III Teacher of the Year celebration.)

There was a TEACHER who was giving an INTERN direction who once told the story of a priceless antique, BOWL that fetched a fortune at a public auction.

The BOWL had been used by a HOMELESS MAN who died poor, under one of Miami's expressways, quite unaware of the value of the BOWL with which he used to beg for pennies.

When the Intern asked the TEACHER what the BOWL stood for, the TEACHER said, "The BOWL stands, for YOU!"

Asked to elaborate, the TEACHER said, "To be a good teacher, you must not focus your attention on the penny knowledge, the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test, the HSCT (High School Completion Test) or the PSAT (Pre-Scholastic Assessment Test) or any of the external criteria that seeks to command your attention.

You will grow and glow as a teacher paying attention to the BOWL, paying attention to your STUDENTS, whose minds you will mold to hold the internal knowledge."

The TEACHER told the young INTERN - Promise Yourself:

To be so focused on the STUDENTS that nothing can disturb your efforts to help them achieve;

To talk encouragement, diligence, and achievement to every STUDENT that you teach;

To make all of your STUDENTS feel that there is something in them;

To think only the best of your STUDENTS, to work only for the best for your students, and to expect only the, best from your STUDENTS.

To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every STUDENT you meet a smile;

To be too caring for confusion, too honorable for hostility, too dynamic for dread; and too competent to permit a STUDENT to fail.

EACH IN YOUR OWN HEART - EACH IN YOUR OWN WAY - LET US CALL UPON the,TEACHER of all TEACHERS, to strengthen us as we affirm humanity NOT tearing each other down, but lifting each other up. Touch those who have assembled here to continue our efforts to sow in the fertile soil of our STUDENTS' minds, wisdom that our STUDENTS may grow and develop that unquenchable thirst, that unsatisfied hunger and that continual tug to be honorable in their behavior, friendly in their disposition, fruitful in their thoughts, devout in their dedication, successful in their study, and high scorers in their testing. Strengthen us, to understand that it is not so much what goes in the BOWL - it is the BOWL itself, our STUDENTS, who are our sacred responsibility. Now at this time, we thank YOU for the men and women we honor here tonight as well as the others who have been sent to direct us to the center of YOUR will, as we do, YOUR work YOUR way for YOUR glory.

To contact Dr. Ingram, please call 305-995-1340 or e-mail