My summer holidays began on Friday last week! We all gave our fond farewells to colleagues leaving for pastures new with either rounds of applause, heartfelt, emotionally gut wrenching speeches or through the subtle art of ‘taking the piss.’
(Just to make you all feel better, I went into work on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday!)
I promised a while back that my post My End of Year Messages would be my last blog of the academic year. (Along with #TMBerkshire, being my last TeachMeet for a while…) I instead decided that I would ‘invest’ in my toolkit- www.cheneyagilitytoolkit.blogspot.com by updating its platform and creating an APP for it both for Apple and Android. My plan is for this to be completed by September 2015, ready for the new academic year!
So, why am I writing another blog post?
Simply because I watched the film The Ron Clark Story. As this movie was for TV only, it seems to be on YouTube… if I am infringing any copyright, please let me know instantly and I will remove the embed code from this blog!)
After watching the movie, I started reading up about this amazing educator. I came across his Twitter and his website. I watched a few interviews and then I spoke to lots of my friends and asked them…
Have you seen The Ron Clark Story?
Have you heard of him?
The answer from everyone I spoke to, was simply no. (They were all UK based.)
I was shocked that many educators I knew had not seen this TV movie (!) and had not even heard of Ron Clark! I thought, surely, like me, teachers want to spend their free time, watching films about teachers? (Ha!) I tweeted out about him a couple of times and there was no response…
Watching the Ron Clark Story- Amazing educator!! Blown away!!
— Amjad Ali (@ASTsupportAAli) July 20, 2015
Am I right in thinking/believe that ALL educators have heard of these films right?
Dead Poets Society? Lean on Me? Freedom Writers? Dangerous Minds? The Great Debaters? Coach Carter?! I am not the only one who has seen them all and secretly wanted to be like all of them, at the same time!?
Anyway, what is the point of this blog… well, simply that all these majorly inspiring educators share the following 5 traits. They all demonstrate them and as a result their students achieve both socially and academically beyond their reality.
All these movies and accolades for these professionals also create a bitter taste in ones mouth too. Do you, like I have done, question whether these lives, messages, ideals could be repeated, demonstrated, replicated in our education system? I wonder… is it, was it, could it ever be sustainable. Equally, I don’t care. If it changed the lives of one student. That is enough for me.
So here are my inspirational, ‘hollywoodised’ educator movie’s top 5 messages:
- Get parents involved!
Contact them before something goes wrong, remember to tell them the positives, ask them to work with you, instead of, alongside you.
- Set ground/classroom/personal rules and be persistent/consistent/determined
Stick to these. Breaking rules and boundaries to be accepted, liked or to avoid confrontation, will essentially cause you more problems in the long run. But, remember, Equity not equality. So, use this to your benefit!
- Create a working environment/climate- in and out of school
Improve their space, their areas, make it theirs. Give ownership, responsibility and comfort to the students.
- Expect more and make students believe they can achieve more, not they simply have the potential to
Get the students to acknowledge achievement. Ask them to identify where it could lead them, don’t push them to get somewhere, hold their hand along the journey that you walk side by side in. (Wow, that was mushy!)
- Know your students- their barriers/difficulties and strengths. Break down the restraints and enhance the positives
I have written about this relentlessly, but all the educators in these movies, simply know, or get to know their students.
I found this online- these are Ron Clarks 55 essential rules.
I especially love number 1- We are all a family.
So, go forward and become Ron Clark, Erin Gruwell, Louanne Johnson and John Keating!
Actually, wait, you are doing it, you do it daily… just maybe, just maybe, we need to do it a little more, a little more focussed and a little more often.
I know how hard Teachers work, but, amazing, inspirational, engaging teaching disproportionately benefits disadvanted students.