Truly Great Teachers

I have been studying exceptional teachers for quite a while now. I may not be a Marzano, but I do have over 50,000 classroom observations under my belt, access to a data base of over 500,000 classroom observation by trained observers, disaggregated student performance data, and for the past ten years the desire and means to visit classrooms at anytime, anywhere in the country. All that to say you don’t have to agree with me but I do bring something unique to the table.

The truly great teacher is a rare specimen, not mythical, but rare.  Think Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Annika Sorenstam level performance.  And with that small pool, you can divide them into two groups: Personality driven and craft driven. 

With the personality driven, I believe that those are the people touched by God with a special gift.  Their personality is such that students can’t help but want to perform for them.  Think Ron Clark, or for those who have worked with him, Old School LYSer Coach John Boyd.  Yes, these teachers know their craft, and they take it seriously, but the craft isn’t the source of success.  These teachers inspire us, but attempts to replicate them are an empty pursuit. No matter how long and hard I try, I will not be Coach Boyd.

Now this may seem to be depressing but there is hope for all of the rest of us… The second pool of the truly great teachers… the craft driven greats.  And here is what was we learned from these teachers.  They weren’t extraordinary; instead they did the ordinary, extraordinarily well.  They did the things that all the rest of us talk about and then do occasionally.  They just did it every day. And because they did it everyday, they did it better than all the rest of us. 

That is the lesson. Work on the Fundamentals, everyday. And as our students are exposed to increasingly expert instructional delivery, they will exceed our grandest expectations.  It also means that greatness can be within our grasp, if we are willing to work for it.   

Think. Work. Achieve. Your turn…

  • Call Jo at (832) 477-LEAD to order your campus set of “The Fundamental 5: The Formula for Quality Instruction.” Individual copies available on Amazon.com!  http://tinyurl.com/Fundamental5 
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A Reader Asks… Make the Last Month Count – Part 1
PowerWalks Hero Schools (April 2014)

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