Archive for July, 2013

This is a repost of an article written by Rachelle Wooten and posted on  This a great article and really hits the mark with these 7 characteristics which fit for both teachers and administrators.

After reading this, you should ask yourself … Does this describe me?  And if it does … GREAT –  Keep up the good work!

But if you’re honest, and it doesn’t …  then what do you need to do to become an Innovative Educator?


What are the characteristics of an innovative educator?

Reflective – As an educator, it is important to reflect on what is working and what is not.  Even though it can be a little uncomfortable, we have to admit when a great lesson was really a flop.  We must constantly examine our processes and our concepts to make sure they are what is best for the students we teach.

Learners – An innovative educator is always learning, reading, listening.  Every student, staff member, professional development opportunity is viewed as an opportunity to get better and be better in the classroom and in the education community at large.  They create local and global professional learning communities.  They take responsibility and initiative for their learning.

Creative – When I say creative I don’t mean in the sense of artistic even though some innovative educators fall in this category.  I mean creative in their thinking and approach.  An innovative educator is very uncomfortable with doing business as usual, especially when it yields no result.  So they go to work brainstorming ways to make things better.  They may change up a lesson to make it more engaging or increase student motivation.  They may adopt a more unconventional approach to handling challenging students so as to develop a stronger rapport.

Connected – It’s hard to be classified as innovative when you are disconnected from your students and trends in the profession.  How can you know what your students need and what will be the best approach to use with them if you are not connected to them personally?  Innovative educators close the gap between the traditional images of teachers so he can determine what is best for each student.  In addition, because they are life-long learners, they are abreast of changes occurring in their field and how to best apply these new changes to their instruction.

Collaborative – Education is one industry where sharing is necessary and vital to true innovation in the classroom.  When teachers work together to solve problems and share successes, our students perform much better in the classroom.  An innovative educator is always exploring topics with other educators, sharing what they know with others.  They are members of Professional Learning Communities where they learn and share with others.  They know that none of us is as smart as all of us.

Inquisitive – How can I improve?  What did I do wrong?  When is the best time for this approach?  How should I adapt this for my struggling readers?  What can I do to extend this lesson for my gifted students?  What if I did it this way?  Innovative educators are always asking questions.  After all, it’s not about having all the answers; it’s about asking the right questions.

Principled – Innovative educators live life according to strong values. They want to make a difference.  They believe that being an educator is a great way to make their mark in the world and they don’t take it for granted.  They believe in being a role model to the students they serve and look for opportunities to show they care by their actions not just with words.  They also care enough to make tough decisions even when it’s not popular and accepted.  They stand up for their beliefs.

Can you think of any characteristics I may have left off the list?

Your Favorite Teacher?

Posted: July 22, 2013 in Teachers, Uncategorized
  1. Who was your favorite teacher?
  2. What impact did they have on you?

Leave a comment and share your thoughts.  And give your favorite teacher a shout-out!

The Modern School Teacher


What do teachers need from administrators?  That’s a great question?  It would be nice for administrators to hear straight from teachers on this.

On Wednesday nights at 8:00 CST, you can follow the #TXED chat and find great dialogue from administrators, teachers, and many other educational professionals from Texas, many others states, and even from other countries.  This week the topic up for discussion was WHAT DO TEACHERS NEED FROM ADMINISTRATORS?  It was a fast paced chat as usual, and as I was following along, I tried to write down many of of the comments that teachers made.

What do principals need to keep in mind?  Here is just a sample of what the teachers said …

  1. just listen
  2. always have a bowl of chocolate
  3. teachers need time … allow for personal time
  4. protect instructional time … there needs to be fewer interruptions
  5. model what you want teachers to do
  6. build relationships
  7. be visible
  8. trust teachers
  9. be in classrooms more often and give feedback
  10. celebrate strengths
  11. have a Teacher-Brag-Board, and give shout-outs
  12. realize that the atmosphere and culture are most important
  13. principals need an open door
  14. listen, actively
  15. teachers are problem solvers
  16. going to the bathroom is a luxury
  17. be a mentor
  18. be a collaborator
  19. show, don’t tell
  20. teachers, students, and administrators  — all are learners!


Teachers:  What do you think about this list?  Agree?  Disagree?  What can you add to it?

Administrators:  What more can you do to support your teachers?


Learn and Grow

What is the purpose of school?

It doesn’t matter if it is Elementary, Middle School / Jr. High, or High School.  The purpose of school is for the students to learn.  It’s our job as educators to teach them so they can learn.  It’s that simple!

As teachers, we already know everything, right?  We know everything there is to know and we can teach it to every student that walks through our doors, right?  And we know the best way to teach it to them so they can learn it, right?

Really!  (Can you detect a little sarcasm here?)

So what do teachers do to learn?  This is a good question … a question that doesn’t have just one answer because all teachers learn differently, just like their students.  There is not a right way or a wrong way.  What’s important is that you have to learn.  If you don’t, your students will suffer.  And that is unacceptable!

Your students depend on you for help.  Your students depend on you to learn so they can learn!

Here’s the challenge:  get connected, reflect, explore, read, watch, listen, model, collaborate, search, take notes, blog, lurk, discuss, encourage, share, and  …………… grow!



How many times have you heard students say that they hate school or that they dread school?  How many times have you heard students say something about not wanting to go to Mr. __________’s class (you can fill in the blank here) because they just can’t stand him or that class?

Far too many times!!!!!

For students, beginning school in Kindergarten is the highlight of their young lives.  It’s what they have been working for since birth … starting school!  They are so excited and just ready to soak up and learn everything they can from their teacher.  I would even bet that everybody can still remember their Kindergarten teacher’s name.   Mine was Mrs. Meador, and I still remember having so much fun in her class.

But then, somewhere along the way, something changed.  Kids begin to dread going to school.  They still go because they have to, but they really don’t look forward to it.  School became monotonous, boring, not fun, etc.


Let’s change our point-of-view for a minute.

Think back to when you began teaching.  Think about the excitement and nervousness of that first day and all the things you were going to do to help students get the best education possible.  You were going to change the world!   But then, somewhere along the way, for some (but not all), something changed.  School became monotonous, boring, not fun, etc.


There is not one answer to this question.  Whatever the reason, it is imperative that it gets changed.  We must once again find the JOY in teaching.  And I bet that when teachers once again find that JOY, then the students will once again find their JOY in going to school.  (See one of my previous posts, The Energy Bus — 10 Rules to Fuel You Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy).

In this TEDx video, Dean Shareski does a great job posing the question — Whatever happened to joy in education?  You will really like this fun and insightful video and, after watching, will feel challenged to FIND JOY !!