Teaching often reminds me of fishing. You throw your line into the water and wait. If you’re patient and successful, the student will be attracted and excited by the bait. It can be a word, a place, a story or a remark delivered while explaining something else.

Preparation is key to educating and fishing. You need the proper equipment, technique, research and bait. As far as research, you don’t want to attempt fishing for salmon in a trout stream. Likewise, it’s meaningless to expect third graders to become excited or inspired by vascular surgery.

But the magic of educating, just as in fishing, is when you have everything in place for a strike. And it happens. Geology probably won’t generate enthusiasm but begin describing 14ers, tree lines, earthquakes and elk. You will never be able to stop questions from erupting.

Needless to say, effective and comprehensive education involves a great deal more than presenting information, no matter how provocative. The best educators are infinitely patient, creative, compassionate and energetic. If you assemble all that, you have the best lure, minnow or worm. And don’t fish often travel in schools?

Those of us who aspire to a great day’s (or year’s) catch can experiment, with mixed success. But as with most endeavors that matter, it’s getting up, putting on your waders and getting out in the water. If you’re in the right place with the right attitude, soon the premium fish will begin tugging on your line. Shalom.

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