A few months ago, a dear friend and I were having a glass of wine and a conversation about our school experiences. It took us a while to remember that far back, but we both agreed that we had some professors and educators who really stuck out on the maps of our scholastic journeys.
I wrote an earlier post about my most memorable teacher. He led my Grade 6 class with great enthusiasm and really encouraged us to think outside of the box. Nothing was ever wrong when it came to imagination, hence my love for writing. (If only he had held that same belief when it came to History class and those red x’s on my tests!)
My friend told me about one of his professor’s who had a deep impact on him in a very short time. It was early in my friend’s law school days when this teacher introduced the syllabus of the curriculum they would be following by writing six capital P’s across the chalkboard with spaces in between each letter. A baffled class of students who wanted to be recognized for their genius all muttered amongst themselves, trying to be the first to solve the great riddle on the board.
The teacher assured them that this first lesson would be neither covered in the course outline, nor appear on any final exams. As the relieved crowd fell silent in anticipation, the professor proceeded to tell the eager group of future litigators what great importance these letters would have on their career as an attorney, or any career for that matter. The teacher filled in each word as the group watched, not saying a word. When each word had been completed, this is the phrase that spanned the front of the classroom:
“Proper Prior Preparation Prevents Poor performance”
That string of words struck a deep chord within many of those students. Those 6 p’s were vigorously scribbled into notebooks, on the back of ironically unprepared hands unable to find their notebooks and etched permanently in the minds of those students hungry to succeed. My friend was one of those hungry students, and succeed he did.
All these years later, sitting in a local restaurant having a glass of wine, my friend still remembered that lesson and what an impact it had on him. I only hope his instructor knew what an impression he had on those students and that he potentially created an entire generation of people who make their p’s a priority.