Valley teachers lead life lessons for students, parents
Louise Mason, left, and Janine Motley wrote “Life Lessons for Little Learners: Beginning Steps Toward Academic Success,” which will be in bookstores in September. Mason has been a teacher and principal for 28 years, now working in the Girard school district. Motley retired after 35 years with Liberty schools and three years at Youngstown State University.
Educators pen book about etiquette in the classroom
By Denise Dick
Teachers spend so much time instructing students in social skills and classroom etiquette that academics often suffer.
That’s why Louise Mason and Janine Motley, both educators, wrote “Life Lessons for Little Learners: Beginning Steps Toward Academic Success,” available online at www.socialand- academicsuccess.com and www.tatepublishing.com. It will be in book stores in September.
Mason has been a teacher and principal for 28 years, now working in Girard school district. Motley retired after 35 years with Liberty schools and three years at Youngstown State University.
The two met when both were teaching at Liberty and have kept in touch over the years, walking together regularly.
“We started brain-storming — as teachers do — and we came up with the idea: Let’s write a book about etiquette,” Mason said.
Motley said the teachers noticed that children’s behavior has changed over the years.
“They just didn’t have the social skills,” she said.
That led to behavior such as talking out in class, speaking too loudly and not respecting fellow students. That disrupts the academic process, making it difficult for teachers to teach and for students to learn, Motley said.
“We wanted to do something to help parents prepare their children so they can succeed academically,” she said.
The book, designed for parents to read with their children, is divided
into chapters focusing on respect for others, responsibility, accountability and love of learning.
Each section includes stories and sets up scenarios, asking children and their parents to talk about and determine the best course of action. The stories concentrate on pride, dignity and respect.
One of the elements that influenced the book was an educator-exchange program in which Mason partici- pated in 2011. She spent a few weeks studying China’s educational system.
There, education is a privilege. Students have to be chosen to continue into high school, Mason said. In the United States, free education is a right, but it’s taken for granted, she said. It’s also something that many students regard as a requirement rather than something they’re doing because they want to, she said.
“There’s a whole different emphasis on the educational process,” Mason said.
Book signings are scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at The Daily Grind, 824 N. State St., Girard; from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 10 at The Supplyroom, 3221 Belmont Ave.; from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Dec. 14 at Jimmy’s Italian Food Specialties, 3230 Belmont Ave., and from 11 a.m. to noon Dec. 28 at the Liberty Branch of the Warren- Trumbull County Public Library.
The two educators also have a website, www.socialandacademicsuccess.com. “Education can be so much fun, but it needs to be taken seriously,” Mason said.
Both women hear from former students about how they’ve affected them.
“That’s a really positive thing about teaching, you get to touch lives,” Motley said.