Sunday, March 15, 2015

Make Me Better #SOL 15,Day 15

This month I'm participating in the Two Writing Teachers blogging challenge. This is Day 15 of 31. 

Some people bring out the best in us. Others, not so much.

While enjoying an evening of music, my friend Angie and I chatted about colleagues who bring out the best in us, those who make us want to be better teachers. 

The first person I recall who mad me want to be better is Nydia May Jenkins, my high school debate coach. I've thought about her often as I've read Deb Day's blog, Coffee With Chole, where Deb has shared her speech team's experience's. When Miss J. taught me, she "wouldn't give a plugged nickel" for me, as she told one judge my senior year. Yet, she changed her mind as I improved, as she brought out the best in me, as she made me want to be better. 

I've had a couple of administrators who have made me want to be better because they were horrible people who inspired me to prove them wrong. The worst of the lot is Jeff Taylor, whose totalitarian abuse I suffered for 12 years. If you are a new teacher, take note, and rise above if you have an incompetent idiot such as Jeff Taylor as your boss.

Fortunately, I now have administrators who make me want to be better. They do so by treating me with respect, by not jumping to conclusions when a kid or parent whines about some minor incident, by thanking me for the job I'm doing, and by saying they appreciate me. They also listen to my concerns, even when they are hard-pressed for time.

My friend Angie has always made me want to be better, especially when dealing with special services students. Angie is the head of our special ed department and helps me see perspectives that I'm not familiar with. 

I also have online friends who bring out the best in me. Gary Anderson, who blogs at What's Not Wrong, keeps me honest, as does Rhonda Deighton, Amy Szerence, Cherylanne Schmidt, and others. 

Not wanting to disappoint my friends motivates me to do better. The trust I've earned as a National Board Certified Teacher and as a Master Teacher in the NEA Better Lesson Master Teacher Project and via my freelance work with Stenhouse Publishing all push me to do better than before. 

Even seeing Stacey drop by this blog encourages me to say something new and  worth reading. Others participating in the SOL15 challenge push and inspire me, especially those new to blogging. 

My students also drive me to be better, especially as more students enroll in Comm 1101, the dual credit class in the ISU Early College Program. 

I'm a pretty intrinsically driven person, but there are many people who give me that extra push. They're the people who make me better and who make me want to be better. 

Angie with her boyfriend Kelly, who is in a local band. 

10 comments:

  1. It sounds like you are surrounded by wonderful people. What a blessing!

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    1. Yes, I am, but I forgot the most important person who makes me want to be better: my husband, Ken. He doesn't read my blog, so I don't have to worry about him feeling left out!

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  2. I love this post. I so agree that encouraging each other is so much more important than putting each other down.

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    1. Thank you. I'm pretty pragmatic, so it's not always easy, but I've gotten better w/ age.

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  3. It's helpful to surround yourself with people who help you grow. It's hard to rise above people who put us down. May you stay encouraged!

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    1. For me one of the great benefits of social networking is connecting w/ people who inspire me and push me to be better. Many also remind me that there are many, many wonderful teachers out there.

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  4. I am glad you mentioned someone who was so horrid that it inspired you to be better. That happened to me when I had terrible teachers. I knew I wanted to teach...and I used those horrid teachers as examples of what not to be. Nice blog...and yes, it is good to surround yourself with people who inspire you and make you stretch to new heights. Sounds like you have a good group doing that. Jackie http://familytrove.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thank you. I'm not sure how or why I'm a person motivated by those whom I think misunderstand or mistreat me, but I've always been that way. The other day I told a student that I don't want to live down to someone else's impression of me; it's so much more fun to be better than those people expect. Fortunately, I can't think of any such people in my life right now.

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  5. I'm impressed that you were able to persevere with your debate coach after hearing that critique...perhaps proving that our most demanding teachers are remembered most fondly, because they helped stretch us out of our comfort zone. I really like this line, "I'm a pretty intrinsically driven person, but there are many people who give me that extra push."
    (Gotta admit, I'm feeling badly for Jeff Taylor. ;-)

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    1. Don't feel badly for Jeff Taylor. He drove many superb teachers out of education. I earned NBCT while he was my principal, and he did not utter one word of encouragement or congratulations during the entire process.

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