The July 11 morning Marketplace radio program featured an interview with journalist Jesse Eisinger, promoting his new book “The Chickens**t Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives.” [Amazon link: No affiliation]
I listen to the Marketplace Morning Report because, well, because it happens during NPR’s Morning Edition during my drive to work. I don’t typically find myself enthralled by the Morning Report content.
This one caught my attention – not because of the content, but because of the story that Mr. Eisinger told about where the NSFW title came from.
Back in 2002, when former FBI Director James Comey was named US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, he gathered his corps of bright, talented, young attorneys. He asked them to raise their hand if they had never lost a trial. Numerous confident hands went up.
“My friends and I have a name for you,” Mr. Comey informed them, “you’re the ‘Chickens**t Club.'” In blistering fashion, Mr. Comey pointed out that the best measure of their job was not about whether they were always winning, but about whether they were standing up for the right causes.
As educators, we have a parallel experience.
I have never met a good teacher who never had a lesson fall flat on its face. I have never met a good teacher whose students didn’t misbehave sometimes. I have never met a good teacher who didn’t have a student who failed an assignment, a quiz, a test.
Why? Because they were willing to try something beyond what they were already comfortable with, something afield of what they had done every year before, something they didn’t already know would succeed.
Those are the best teachers I ever met. Those are the best teachers I’ve ever had. Those are the teachers who are willing to try whatever it takes to help all of their students learn to define and achieve what the highest level of success means for them – not just to pass a test or earn a credit.
Teachers: if everything you do in class works just the way you expect it to, it’s time to resign from The Chickens**t Club.