The Classroom Environment

At the beginning the foundation and philosophy I eventually built began in ignorance and blindness. I did what seemed to me to be the right thing to do simply due to events that called for a specific action. In time I began to understand and develop a pragmatic philosophy that I could and did teach others. Many, many years later when I began to work with adults, professionals and entrepreneurs and to study power did I begin to seriously know self. It was at this point that my formal education to understand people and behavior finally took off.
The factual examples and the papers to follow took place during the time I worked for the LA Bd of Ed in the 1950s. My teaching approach came almost totally from experiences drawn from my camp, children ages 3 to teens and staff. Formal education as a student at UCLA, as best I am able to remember those days, played little or no part, in how I taught.
When I began taking over 5th and 6th grade classrooms I clearly remember what we, in time, (teacher and students) achieved. It was a sense of acceptance, belonging, respect, regard, caring, support and enjoyment of each other. Always to the point week-ends for the girls and boys got in the way of being at school with their friends. Someway, somehow we became a gang, a tribe, a community.
Even parents would observe and comment on the miraculous changes in their children. “What was going on at school?” became a parent’s question. And from a principle’s view point they would ask that I not discuss my classroom approach with other teachers during breaks. And, “please,” keep my doors closed.
Most important is that academics never suffered. Reading, writing, math, science, history, geography and stuff always was front and center. Ah, but it was the space in-between that made the difference and brought out the humanity in each of us. And what the rest of the story is about. Sy
I am me, you, you———that is the best it can be————-We each must be self.

Author: Sy Ogulnick

Sy Ogulnick received a BA from UCLA, Teacher’s Credential from Los Angeles Board of Education and completed phase I (Master’s portion) in a Doctor of Behavioral Science program at California Coast University. Sy leased and operated a summer day camp in LA. He and his wife then purchased virgin wilderness land in Northern CA, where they built and operated a coed summer camp. They moved to Las Vegas, NV, and purchased, built and operated a community children’s program for families staying in a major resort casino in Las Vegas. They have created programs for children nationwide that employed many people and in the process developed successful training programs for personnel. This led Sy to lecture on how to train staff and the creating of community within the workplace. Sy was then invited to speak at professional conferences on how best to hire and train employees, which led to his becoming a consultant in the art of improving relationships in a work environment and eventually to his epiphany that “Leaders are the primary problem and the answer to the personnel issues that arise in the workplace.” Sy has written numerous papers on the subject of interpersonal relationships, leadership and power. He has lectured throughout the United States, has been interviewed by the media and has appeared on many radio and TV talk shows

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