Monday, September 15, 2014

Bragging Rights?

I'm feeling slightly uncomfortable evaluating, and then PUBLISHING my own strengths as an educator.   One of my personal strengths is fostering relationships.   To that end, I asked some of my alumni what they thought.  I always feel the love when I talk to these kids.  That helped, a lot, in defining my three strengths.  Two are predictable.  Lord knows I could not go for the triple crown in normal!

 Te@chthought #reflective teacher prompt of the day:

Day 15

Name three strengths you have as an educator.

I.  Creativity
Sarah and I established the Four Principles of Sanity
1.  Never apply logic to public education.
2.  Don't fall off the edge into the abyss of despair.
3.  There's a mattress on fire under a bridge in Boston.  (An actual excuse given to us for why an online program for writing IEPs was not working.)
4.  Sarah has a baby.  (She's maxed out!)

While only three of them actually apply to me, the fourth is there to keep Sarah sane.  (See below -- I'm human.)  We use these whenever we start to ask "why" something doesn't make sense, isn't working, or can't be scheduled.  It really does save a lot of time and helps us to move on from obsessing over something over which we have no control.

Beyond the creative use of the creation and implementation of the Four Principles, we both juggle a variety of subjects to appease and entice the curious minds that dwell in the heads of gifted learners.  Our bookshelves rival the sale table at the library booksale -- in both quantity and diversity of volumes.  We have learned to pick up anything that is on the "free to a good home" table, just in case somebody is interested in the offering.

II.  Advocacy for my learners.  (AKA - I'm human.  I like to think I care about my students.)

Some of the feedback I received from students included:

"Your strength as an educator is that you have a personal relationship with students. Like anyone can provide a kid with information to pass a test, but it's rare to find someone who not only does that but also helps kids find ways to express their unique interests and foster their own talent."  

"... you definitely were a compassionate and understanding educator.  You understood how much my parents wanted me to succeed and how much pressure that sometimes put on me. You also understood how I felt when my grandfather was in the hospital..."

"You were very flexible  especially with my scheduling.  You understood what I wanted in school and helped me fit it all in, including special things..."

The logistics of my job are often difficult, but when my challenge is helping students to achieve MORE, I love that I get to wear my advocate hat and use the aforementioned creativity to create an unusual schedule that works for an individual kid.

III.  The fine art of B.S.

While this may sound like something that should not be mentioned publicly, society actually appreciates those who can finesse the English language without offending others.  My charges learn this early, and usually mention their refined use of the skill when they get to college.   It's all part of the metacognitive process that gives tools, language, and psychological/sociological insight and understanding to answer a writing prompt eloquently, even if you really aren't sure where you are going with the answer.

Having just bragged about my ability to write refined pieces, this entry is certainly coming up short.  Perhaps it's because I have nothing to say.

Note the date -- it probably won't happen again for a very long time!


  1. I like Point #3! It is definitely all about "communication" - both for students and teachers!!!

  2. I have had the privilege of seeing you demonstrate all 3 of these strengths and I wholeheartedly agree that you have honed them to an art form. And you are GREAT at fostering relationships.