The Best...

Over the past couple of weeks I've been talking with a number of teachers, administrators, parents, and other members of the school community about what the best educators do differently than everyone else.  I know that there have been a number of books written on this topic including What Great Teachers do Differently by @ToddWhitaker.  This book has informed many of the thoughts within this post however; I will explain the six things that I feel the best educators do better than everyone else.

The best educators invest more time into their work.  

The best educators are not clock or contract watchers; they realize that their responsibility of educating students never stops, regardless of the time commitment.  The best educators are passionate about their students, the subject they teach, and most importantly in the connections that they make with their kids. The best have high expectations for students but even higher expectations for themselves. The best educators will not stop until they've met the needs of all students and established connections that will last a lifetime.

The best educators work effectively with parents and families at home.

They not only communicate and relay positive information, but also collaborate with families to problem solve.  The best listen to parents and ask what works at home because no one knows the child quite like their family members. The best educators partner up to make sure students and families have a voice collectively to create opportunities for success.

The best educators collaborate effectively with their peers. 

The best realize that the work is too important and big to do alone.  Not only do the best educators learn from their peers, but also contribute their ideas for the improvement of the team.  

The best educators are incredible classroom managers. 

The best have strong classroom procedures, routines, and are intentional with every move. They not only manage students effectively, but also manage themselves, by not showing frustration, anger, or using sarcasm. The best educators never yell, never use sarcasm, and they treat everyone with dignity and respect 100% of the time (10 days out of 10).  The best develop comprehensive instructional plans for each day beginning with the end in mind.  They are always conscious of the amount of time that they have for a lesson, unit, or a semester worth of content.  The best realize that strong classroom management allows additional instructional time which ultimately increases student achievement.

The best educators are extremely positive.

The best educators focus on the things that they can control and then ensure they are taking a positive approach each and every day.  Teaching is hard because it matters.  The best educators face challenges head-on and model the behavior they expect in others while remaining positive in all situations.

The best educators are extremely reflective.

The best educators are constantly reflecting on their lessons, decisions, and continually ask, "What could I have done differently to make this better?"  The best educators do not look out the window, instead they look in the mirror, especially when times are tough.

I feel very fortunate to work with superstar teachers at @EpworthElem and @FESBobcats who display many of these characteristics.  We have great schools because of the dedicated educators who are committed to continuous improvement.    


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