My column exploring the traits of good teaching included some well-known tricks of the trade: Don't lecture students, do pull them in using Socratic-style queries; learn about your students' lives, it will come in handy when you're trying to motivate and help them.

My column exploring the traits of good teaching included some well-known tricks of the trade: Don’t lecture students, do pull them in using Socratic-style queries; learn about your students’ lives, it will come in handy when you’re trying to motivate and help them.

Experience gathered from more than a decade of writing about education informs me that important distinctions must be made between the art of teaching and the politics of it. Let the teachers union focus, or become obsessed – depending on your viewpoint – with issues far beyond the classroom. Most teachers are rightly focused on their craft.