I had the pleasure of hearing Ron Clark speak at my district’s opening day professional development last week. I have read and seen some things about Mr. Clark as I prepared to become a teacher. I think his story of how he came into education is amazing and it was definitely movie worthy. But to be honest he could have played himself in the film because his personality is so dynamic and perfect for the camera.
His presentation was equally dynamic and I came away with the following:
- Follow your heart. Mr. Clark said many times that you need to act when you feel strongly about something. He began teaching because he had a feeling in his heart, when he met his first students, on his first interview. I agree with this 100%. If you truly follow your heart you can’t go wrong in whatever you do.
- Teach with Passion. It doesn’t matter what your content area is whatever the content do it with passion and love. I can relate to Mr. Clark’s experiences because I also have passion for my profession and would do anything to aid in my students’ success. You may be having a rough morning but once your students walk through that door you have to be “on”, for them.
- Lift up your colleagues. I have experienced first hand what it is like to have a colleague tell me not do something with my students because it will make them and other teachers look bad because they aren’t doing the same thing or something else that is engaging and good for kids. I agree with Mr. Clark that teachers like us are not out to make other teachers look a good, bad, or indifferent. It is about doing what is good for the students. If you’re a teacher who is not willing to do what is good or great for kids, then retire and go do something else. There are plenty of enthusiastic people who would make better use of the time and space.
Thank you again to Mr. Clark for coming to my district and making such a positive impact and impression on me as a person and educator. I am currently enjoying my copy of The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck–101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers. As I reflect on my own practices and his stories I realize that the only difference between us is that Mr. Clark has been fortunate enough to be recognized, and deservedly so, on a large-scale for his methods and approach to education.
I truly believe there is a dynamic and passionate educator with in all teachers. Just take the time to find what makes you dynamic. Follow your heart with a passion while encouraging others to do the same!