Teaching on the Island of Misfit Toys

Watching the 1964 TV special Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is a Christmas tradition for many people around the world.

It is the story of a young red-nosed reindeer who is bullied for being different. He teams up with a toy-making elf who wants to be a dentist, and they set out on an adventure to find a place that will accept them. On their journey, they discover an island of misfit toys that have been tossed aside due to the slight ‘defects’ they possess. Unwanted and rejected, the toys live in sadness on the island waiting for the day that someone will want them as their own. Rudolph and Hermey (the elf dentist) understand the plight of the toys and promise to return and save them all. In the end, Rudolph learns that greatness can be achieved by anyone, even those that are least expected to succeed, and he saves the day by finding a home for each misfit toy.

Watching it now as a teacher reminds me of the importance of creating a home for the students we teach who feel as though they are misfits.

Teach FIT: How ‘In Shape’ are YOU as a Teacher?

The most successful people in the world are FIT.  They have the ability to Focus, take Initiative, and be Tenacious in order to accomplish their goals.  People who have a FIT mentality will rise above the rest.

When it comes to teaching, this same rule applies.  If you want to lead your students down a successful path, you must be able to focus on a plan, take the initiative to move things forward, and be tenacious in living out your purpose. 

In order to be an unforgettable teacher and to rise above the obstacles you face daily, you must take the time to get FIT.

Three Inspiring Costumes Great Teachers Wear

When kids (and adults alike) dress up on Halloween, they are taking advantage of an opportunity to become someone else and hide their identity for a night.

As teachers, you have the opportunity to ‘dress up’ as many things throughout the year.  The difference between you, and those on Halloween, is that your ‘disguises’ display your identify rather than hide it. The power of who you represent to your students each day can make all the difference.  Make sure to wear your ‘costumes’ well.

The POWER of a Teacher’s Presence

The power of your presence in the lives of others can leave a remarkable impact.  Depending on how you wield that power will determine the influence you have each day.

It is crucial to understand that in a fast paced world, filled with people who equate value with action, the power of your presence can often be overlooked.   The message you send to others without saying a word can be even more powerful than you imagine. 

What’s In Your Teacher Carry-on?

5 Essentials We All Must Pack Daily

When we travel on a plane we are allowed to bring a carry-on.  Within it we often place the essentials, the things we need most, just in case our luggage gets lost along the way.

As teachers, we must be prepared with a ‘teacher carry-on’ of our own that is filled with the essentials we need each day.  When lessons don’t go well, when technology goes haywire or when things seem so bad we question our calling as a teacher, we will rely on the items in our carry-on to get us through. 

The following five ‘essentials’ are crucial to have with us every day in order to impact students on a much deeper level.  Carry them with you and create an unforgettable experience for every student you teach.

Wisdom for Teachers from a Hot Dog Vendor

There is so much wisdom to be found in our world.  Sometimes all we have to do is pay close attention and take it all in.

In my town we have a quaint ‘main street’ that is filled with small independent shops, trendy cafes and unique restaurants.   One person, however, that has made himself a much needed staple in the community is our local hot dog vendor.  He provides a service that many business people in the area just couldn’t live without…. a quick, cheap lunch.  He started a few years ago, and despite the intense competition he faces,  he has continued to flourish year after year. 

As teachers, I think we can glean some wisdom from the success of this hot dog vendor by leaning in and paying close attention to some simple secrets he possesses.

How to Strive Through the Storms of Leadership

The strength of a storm must be respected.  However, when we take the time to step outside, once it has passed, we will be given the opportunity to smell the fresh new air it has left behind and work together like never before.

Great leaders will face storms, yet it is often through the fury that we find fortitude.  Whether the storms we face totally destroy the foundation of our vision or they try to simply hinder our progress, it is crucial to approach them with a plan.  When a leader is prepared before the storm hits, they will be able to emerge even stronger than before.  The key is in how you handle the storms that come your way.

Dear Student of Mine…

The POWER of a Simple Letter

Emotions. Our students are filled with them when they walk into our lives for the first time.   A mix of excitement, nerves and a touch of fear will consume them as they slowly enter the classroom.

As a teacher, your response to their emotions may be one of the most impactful steps you take all year.  Tread lightly and know that one of the greatest things you can do to calm their nerves is to be transparent.  Build relationships from day one, and alleviate their fears by setting a stage of trust.

One thing I find to be so helpful is to greet new students with a simple letter.  A letter that lays out what they can expect from me, and explains my goals as their teacher and mentor this year.

The Justice League: Teach as One

Superhero Summer Series: Final Chapter

The Justice League is compiled of some of the most powerful superheroes of all time.   Alone, each hero is POWERFUL, yet together they are an UNSTOPPABLE force to be reckoned with.

As a teacher, you bring your own unique skill set into the profession.  The different abilities and skills that you possess could be considered your very own superpowers.  Alone, you are powerful, yet imagine if we attempted to ‘save the world’ together instead of going at it alone.

Just like the most powerful superheroes of our time, when we work together we can change the world.

Hermione: 3 Spells to Cast as a Leader

Summer Superhero Series: Volume Four

Hermione wields the wand of change.  By casting her spell through her adventures, she changes the narrative and gives us the realization of a female hero that girls look up to and boys revere.

As leaders, we can learn a lot through taking a closer look at Hermione.  She demonstrates so many qualities that are found within great leadership, and her actions speak louder than her words.  With each spell she casts, she teaches us how to be the kind of leader others want to follow.