Plan each lesson as if it were the Super Bowl.
Walter J. Brown
Queens High School of Teaching
Bellerose, New York
1. Love who you teach. (Know the developmental, social, emotional, physical, and spiritual systems of each child.) 2. Love what you teach. (Be passionate about your subjects and content.) 3. Love to teach. (Research pedagogy and best practices.)
Tim Van Soelen
Professor of education
Sioux Center, Iowa
Enjoy the moments. It is easy to get caught up in lesson planning, assessment, grading, parent outreach, and paperwork and forget to be really present. We must remember to enjoy the time we have with our students and the subject matter that we love.
Jane Addams High School
Bronx, New York
Calvary Chapel Junior High School
Santa Ana, California
Never stop learning. The challenge of learning something new, the confusion and chaos that can accompany learning, as well as the enjoyment, enlightenment, and even the excitement new learning brings, undoubtedly make a better teacher.
Canajoharie High School
Canajoharie, New York
Realize you are in the people business! While teaching content is your primary responsibility, in order to do that you must build relationships with people -- your students, their parents, and your colleagues. Make connections on a personal level, and deeper levels of teaching and learning will emerge.
Wheatland-Chili Middle School
Scottsville, New York
Be your own advocate. I cannot believe how many times I see new teachers get pushed around and beat down by other staff, administration, or parents. Wanting to please and get tenure seems to cloud the judgment of what is right and where their personal limit is.
El Descanso School
To find joy in small victories -- to be happy when one student "gets it"; to be thrilled when things become easier for a class; to relish in accomplishments of the struggling while not ignoring the gains made by the natural scholars -- and to find some joy every day.
Lake Park High School
That all learning is filtered through a perspective. Because that perspective is developed through life experiences, no one in the classroom, including the teacher, has the same perspective. Therefore, if no child is supposed to be left behind, all information must be taught using multiple perspectives.
Social science specialist, curriculum and instruction
Loudoun County Public Schools
How to teach. It is a noble and good profession, but too many teachers do not actually teach. Instead, they use PowerPoint as a crutch and simply read, which leads to my most common student comment: "I can read the slides myself -- teach me!" Yell, write on the board, move, talk, look them in the eye, engage them, get them to think!
Dean of instruction
Bryant & Stratton College
Willoughby Hills, Ohio
Classroom-management strategies. There should be instruction in how to deal with parents, and how to keep accurate, fair grades. I would be sure the educators understood environmental literacy and how to teach in an outdoor environment. I would introduce them to award-winning environmental-education programs, such as Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, and Project WET. I would give them questioning strategies, and tips to stimulate critical thinking in their students. Finally, I would encourage educators to promote peace and social equity.
Environmental-education specialist and independent consultant
That he or she must keep in mind that his or her job is to teach people, not to teach subjects. If one does not deal with each student as an individual, all the content in the world will fall on deaf ears.
Benjamin A. Rau
Dennis Township Middle School
Dennisville, New Jersey
How to hold high expectations for everyone -- themselves, their colleagues and administrators, their district, and, most importantly, their students. I would show teachers what high expectations look like and how they can be met, and teach them the consequences of low expectations, especially for children of poverty.
Research associate (and former fourth-grade teacher)
Syracuse, New York
To ask meaningful questions. To listen to responses without making assumptions. To guide students to find their own answers. To connect knowing stuff to living life. To model learning as a way to live rather than a task to complete by continuing to expand what you, as a teacher, know and are able to do.
Family and consumer science teacher
Gayle Middle School
Stafford County, Virginia
To survive amid human and societal variation, teachers need two key creativity skills: fluency and flexibility. The first is the ability to generate unlimited ideas in response to a classroom or curriculum challenge; the second, the ability to approach problems from many angles. These core skills allow a teacher to make do with little, inject variety, try new approaches when an idea does not work, and always have the ability to jump into a another's shoes to gain perspective. Ironically, most adults have these abilities schooled out of them as children and must relearn them to be talented teachers.
Candace Hackett Shively
Director of K-12 initiatives
Network for Instructional TV
As a high school teacher, I would teach other high school teachers how to incorporate creativity into their classrooms so students can have that enthusiasm they once had in elementary school. When teachers use creativity in the high school classroom in conjunction with student choice, authentic learning experiences with real audiences, and learning-styles-focused tasks, students can, once again, experience the enthusiasm for learning they once had in their early years of education. With these elements, we can establish classrooms that challenge and motivate our students to experience the best source of self-esteem: achievement.
Cartersville High School
During my first semester teaching middle school, a student asked why I never smiled. I didn't realize that in my hours of focus and concentration, I was keeping some students at arm's length. My student taught me to smile. My advice to a teacher (new or old) is to smile!
Middle school science teacher
Long Beach Unified School District
Long Beach, California
That he or she can be the single difference for that one student who others think can't learn. That he or she can be the single difference for that one student who has given up on himself herself. That he or she can make a difference for that one student not for a class period, not for a day, not for a school year, but for a lifetime. That he or she has the power to change two lives: the student's and the teacher's.
Cathy C. White
Division of Scholastic Assistance
Kentucky Department of Education
I would like to remind them why they became a teacher. I would like to remind them that they can and, in fact, do make a difference for every child, every day, in what they do and what they do not; and I would like to remind them that for many of our kids, they are the only tangible link between what is the best of the human condition and what is not, and that is both an awesome responsibility and a blessing worth doing exceptionally well -- every day.
Superintendent of schools
That subject matter is merely a means to interact with students. The student is always the most important reason for teaching. It's more important that students know how to think and use information. The most important things a teacher should be taught would be curiosity, a sense of humor, and the knowledge that no one knows it all.
Seventh- and eighth-grade science
Floyd Henson Junior High School
Your students are not your friends, but treat them with respect. Start at day one with your fair rules and your practical routines, and stay with it. You are the teacher, and they are the students.
Science and math teacher
Fletcher Middle School
Jacksonville Beach, Florida
To really connect with and care for their students. While academics are naturally important, the social and emotional climate of the classroom and school are pathways or impediments to learning. I would encourage teachers to make learning fun, to get kids to engage with one another, and to make decisions about their work. I would want teachers to remember why they got into teaching in the first place and to stay connected with their larger purposes instead of focusing on petty daily demands.
Hilary Lang Greenebaum
former middle school assistant principal, PhD student in education
Never take yourself or others too seriously. Enjoy what you do, and help others enjoy it, too.
Manheim Township High School
Always remember why you wanted to become a teacher. Your original passion will help carry you past the rough spots.
West Mercer Elementary School
Mercer Island, Washington
To have high expectations for all students. Not all students come from homes that value education. We need to set the bar high for those who are motivated and for those who have no one at home cheering for them. In the primary grades, many underachievers don't do well because sometimes they are not challenged. If they are quiet and do not cause trouble, they slide through unnoticed and later find themselves so far behind that it is difficult to catch up. I would teach teachers to see students as their own children, expect the best, and care as if they were their own.
Lindbergh School District
St. Louis, Missouri
The more I would look forward to your class, the harder I would work in it. Try not to teach as though the world revolves around your class. Make the subject interesting.
Mount Dora, Florida
I would teach a teacher the principles for making the classroom an environment for learning by the minds, eyes, and ears of a diverse student population. Integrate a variety of media (audio, video, hands on, and cooperative), promote a variety of learning styles (auditory, visual, individual engagement, and collaborative), and encourage respectful individuality and wisdom.
engineering and math teacher
I would emphatically emphasize the reassessment of the goal of teaching. Content is merely an avenue; the real goal of teaching should be the joy of learning. It is this joy that will equip them with the tools needed for the twenty-first century.
Columbiana County Educational Service Center
Change is OK. Students change, and teachers should, too. Working with students for the past thirty-one years, I have seen numerous changes in students, but not so much in teachers my age. We must adapt, particularly to the technology that is changing daily. It is OK as a teacher not to know everything about technology, but it is not OK to be afraid your students know more than you. Use your students to assist, collaborate, and teach. You may be surprised how much more students listen to students than they do to adults.