Adventures and Lessons in Mentoring New Teachers

Inspiration Part I

January 12th 2012 in Lessons from Reflection, Professional Learning Community

Although my days are filled to the brim with conferences, observations, and paperwork, I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on my practice, my job, and my passions.  As I was walking from classroom to classroom, I started to think of the word “inspiration.”  Who inspires me? What inspires me? How does that impact my life?

1.  Goals or Challenges.  I must admit, when Shelly Terrell announces her #30Goals last year, I was hooked.  When I read the tweet challenging people to document their year in pictures (#365 project), I jumped on board.

This year, I am resolved to completing both of these projects.  In fact, I hope to stay current with both projects and feel inspired to do so.

2.  Books, Articles, and other Blogs.  This month, I have read so many wonderful writings from other educators.  In past posts, I have listed many of these.  Using Buffer, I have now been able to tweet some of these throughout my day.  In addition, I am reading several books (there are too many! :-) ) that are packed full of wisdom, practical advice, inspiring stories.

Two of my current readings are Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire by Rafe Esquith.  This elementary school teacher has students learning ideas, skills, concepts that I rarely find in high schools.  He is present every moment of every day in his classroom.  I have some changes to make in my own practice (and I am sharing a lot of these with my new teachers) when I return to the classroom.

The other book that I am reading alongside a new teacher is No More Molasses Classes by Ron Clark.  In my communication with her, my thoughts were …

3 – Define your expectations and then raise the bar; the more you expect, the better the results will be?

I was simply amazed at this man’s attitude. Yet I was humbled by his level of expectation and his determination to make it work. Maybe it was a “flaw” in the system that pushed him to complete his goal (“we don’t lower standards at RCA once they are determined), and still he refused to back down. 

I think the most profound part of this section was the idea that schools and teachers often say they have “high expectations,” we even tell students they should have “high expectations,” but the HIGH is never truly defined or stated for the students. Is it enough that we want 50% of our students to pass FCAT? Why are we afraid of saying 100%? Could it be because, as he says, “[we] can’t just set the bar, sit back, and say, ‘Get there.’”?

I believe if every teacher taught with the same passion and expectation that he had, we could change the culture of a school. We would see students becoming empassioned to learn – yes, even Algebra! Every class would become important; students would hate to miss class. What happened to our schools, teachers, curriculums, that allow students to learn more from YouTube that they learn from our teachers?

Next week, I’ll post Part II … Visuals and Sounds.

What inspires you to write? to learn? to inspire others?

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2 comments to...
“Inspiration Part I”


I had an interesting experience this week. I posted a reflection on my blog and got some very positive feedback, along with a surprising number of retweets. It was thrilling, and I learned something: my students must feel the same way when I praise their work, read it outloud, show it to other teachers. Sadly, I don’t do too many of those things often enough. Imagine if I did? My experience with instant positive feedback inspired me to want to write and post more. I could inspire my kids to do the same, if I paid them more attention. Thank you for causing me to pause and reflect about my own inspiration.

Sylvia Ellison

Wow! That is a powerful reflection. Thank you. I hope your students feel as I do after reading your response.


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My thoughts these days feel so scattered … 2011 began and ended in a whirlwind of responsibilities, aspirations, and wonders.  I cannot believe all that I have accomplished this year.  Yet there is so much I want to do in 2012, I don’t quite know where to begin … except here!
Reflections …
1.  A circle is [...]

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I must admit … I’m SO EXCITED!  Last year, when I discovered Shelly Terrell, her website “Teacher Reboot Camp,” and her #30Goals initiative, I felt like that was exactly what I needed to REBOOT.  So … here we go again … #30Goals in 2012!



My Manifesto

I believe that all students deserve the opportunity to pursue a [...]

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