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.|