How Do They Do It?
Do you ever wonder how we cool teachers get it done? How does a popular teacher really get the success in the classroom that many other teachers desire? Every teacher has a small flock of students that like them, and look to them for guidance. But look at the overall body of students you work with. Do they really like you? Popular teachers are cool, crazy, connect to all students, and deliver a lot of good info. Aside from those simple things, they have qualities that are important to connecting with students. I believe that any teacher struggling to find their way should take some time and observe these cool teachers. This isn’t about being tall, short, cute, ugly, black, white, male, female, young, or old. Cool teachers just connect with students. The kids will say things like, “They are just cool.” Cool to kids means many things, but when it comes to an adult, that label brings with it a lot of respect and admiration. This isn’t just limited to teachers, even though they are on the frontline. It is also connected to administrators. Kids know truth from fiction. They know when a person is being fair or unfair, and they know if it is right or wrong. They understand who really has the right passion for the game of teaching, and who has their best interest at heart. We aren’t talking about like or dislike; fairness plays a huge role in being a cool and popular teacher.
It is also about being dedicated to the process. The process popular teachers create isn’t just one where anything goes. It is a direct movement of skill and knowledge, with improvement of the student’s life as a major part of the equation.
Cool teachers get it done by focusing on what is right rather than what is popular. One of the hardest things about teaching is doing what is right in the face of administration and parental pressures. This can be a tough time for any teacher committed to making their students have the best educational opportunity. At times, there can be a real conflict between what the parent is asking, and what the teacher is attempting to do in their classroom.
During my teaching days there was a term that irked the hell out of me. You may have heard of the statement “choose your battles.” Depending on how receptive the administration, parents, students, and peers are, you will have to make a big decision on what is important to fight for and what isn’t. I will say this before you start: “Learn to Choose Your Battles.” While teaching, I wasn’t a fighter of every battle, just the ones when I knew the right thing to do for students was not being done. That can include a lot of things in education, but there are battles that you just aren’t going to care enough about to fight. So I say to you, “LEARN” enough about yourself so you know what is important to you. I had to learn what was important to me in the world of education so that when I did decide to fight, my passion was there with me, and my focus was rightly directed. There is nothing tougher than trying to fight every battle. You can’t do it. You won’t be able to keep up with all the things you need to know to fight properly. My main focus is classroom discipline and structure that lead to student learning and success. I fight for those things because I believe they are important when educating teenagers. My opinion is that the battles I chose were worth fighting for, so I did. When there would be a situation that related to discipline and structure that didn’t make sense, I would do the right thing for my students. Many times this meant standing up when a parent could become very upset with the teacher’s actions regarding their child. This isn’t bucking the system or rules; it is just my way of making sure what I believe in was at the forefront, and being protected.
This is part of a chapter from my book Rock The Crowd: How The Cool Teachers Inspire More Students, Earn More Respect, and Become Lifelong Mentors. Every Wednesday and Friday (Starting April 8, 2014) I will share parts of every chapter. Don’t forget that the shares from my first book Learning Curve are on Monday and Thursday.
Is there anything better for students than being in the class of the cool teacher? When it comes to being a teenage student, and being forced to attend school, there is nothing better than a class where the teacher is passionate about education. How do these popular teachers continue to be the sparkle in the eyes of so many children, while there are others that can’t get them to pay attention? Rock the Crowd shares the methods of those teachers that are considered cool by students, while maintaining the best relationships for valuable learning to take place. For the “cool teacher,” the front of their classroom is their stage, and every day, for hours, they give the greatest performance their students have seen to date. The crowd-rocker teaches with passion and convictions that inspire real student connections and learning that last a lifetime. These teachers are popular, year after year, while others are still struggling to learn how to relate to the students. In Rock the Crowd, I share all the things cool teachers do that make them successful in working with, and producing, successful and long lasting, learning-centered relationships. Rock the Crowd is great for teachers who are struggling to find their teaching groove and to reenergize those that are already grooving.