Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Monday, September 20, 2010

Don't let others define who you are!

On Twitter tonight there has been a lot of chatter about Oprah and “Waiting for Superman” To be honest I didn’t listen to Oprah nor would I let her define who I am. I know who I am. Do you want to know who I am; I have the best job in the world and impact the lives of my students every single day. There was a YouTube video where a teacher was asked “what do you make” The teacher goes on to say all the things that teachers do and the bottom line is (I hope this is right) he ends off by saying;”I make a difference what about you.” My message tonight on Twitter as it has been on my blog is that we can only control what goes on in our classroom. Yes there is a lot that needs to be changed and improved and it is going to take some real out of the box thinking and rather than blaming everyone we just need to work together to make those changes. Until that happens, or perhaps to facilitate that change, we can make those improvements and changes in our own classrooms. I know we are still limited since we have to adhere to school or district standards but where we can we need to be doing what we know is right for our students.

However I think we all need to take comfort in knowing that there is no need to wait and that there are some Supermen and Superwomen already in the classrooms.At the risk of leaving some out I would like to mention a few that I have come to respect through my PLN on Twitter. There are many others but here a just a few:
@wmchamberlain @Philip_Cummings
@ktenkely @tomaltepeter
@tcash @amandacdykes
@michellek107 @Becky_Ellis_

Not to mention all the principals associated with Connected Principals who are trying to bring about change and @tomwhitby and @ShellTerrell for their work with the EDU PLN and many others. I guess the wait is over the Super teachers are here

Therefore we need to hold our heads up and know that we can’t and won’t be defined by others and no matter what they say WE DO AND ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE!


  1. Thank you for the respect you have shown me, I am very humbled by it. I think we need to force change, but I worry about the cost to our classrooms, schools, and communities. I teach where I went to school, the community is mine. My passion lies here first. I appreciate those who push a bigger agenda, but I still think teachers like me need to stand next them whispering "Remember your students first."

  2. Agreed! I have blogged and tweeted a number of times that we must always put our students concerns first. I have learned so much from you
    Thank you

  3. Thank you for your kind words! I really value the professional relationship we have cultivated!

    I also teach in the community where I grew up. I left for a while, but returned to give back for what I was given. My students will always come first; however, I also feel that we need to be more vocal about the good things we're doing. I blogged about that before... if we remain silent (or mostly silent) about the good news, then only the bad news will be heard.

    With that said (or typed), that doesn't mean we have to shriek to be heard. In some communities, parents are coming out in droves in support of their schools and teachers. We can keep doing good things, but we can also empower our parents and students to say that we don't need Bill Gates or Michelle Rhee to speak for us. I will keep blogging and reaching out to educational leaders to come visit our classroom to see real learning. :-)

  4. Michelle,
    Thank you for your kind words and I value the professional relationship we have formed as well and I have learned a lot for you.
    I agree that often the good things that we do go unnoticed and we need to make people more aware of all the good that so many are doing.
    I also like the idea of showing people what real learning is. As the saying goes seeing is believing.
    Again Thank you

  5. Humbled to be mentioned here :). You are a passionate man with a heart for young people, no doubt about it. Thanks for learning with me and making a real difference in the lives of those we serve!

  6. Tom
    Thank you for your kind words
    I have learned a lot from you as well.

  7. Great great post! I will be following those who you recommend! Thank you for your thoughtfulness and insight! Gloria Gaynor (!!!) once sang "If you want it, do it yourself'...we need the help and love of others but we need to take the stpes ourselves!!!
    Have a great day!!

  8. Neil,
    Thank you for your kind words. It says in Ethics of our fathers. if I don't take care of there is no one who will, however if I am only about myself then who am I". We need to care of ourselves while at the same time caring about others, in this case our students
    Thanks again

  9. What incredibly kind words! Thank you, Rabbi.