Teachers These Days

Most of the time, when I’m about to write a blogpost, I have an idea where I’m going. In this case, not so much.

Through the magic professional learning available via Twitter, I caught the title of a book called Teachers These Days by Dr. Jody Carrington and Laurie McIntosh.

A wondering. The phrase ‘teachers these days’. I bet some might assume a negative connotation. As in, with a big sigh and an eye roll, “Teachers these days.” Well, no. This book ain’t that. By a million miles. And stop reading this post if you think about teachers that way. You’re wrong.

So that was something I was going to write a lot about. The assumptions some have about teachers these days.


I also found that with each page I read, I had more to think and write about. I was immediately zoomed back to being a middle school teacher. Standing outside my classroom door with my buddies Dave Hockman and Kirk Dodge. Welcoming, joshing with, and generally fooling around as kids came into our classrooms. I’ve long said that how the adults treat each other IS the school climate. I know this because I’ve lived this. And see it still.

A fact.

We didn’t greet kids at the door because of research that says that middle school kids so greeted increase academic engagement by 20% and disruptive behavior drops by 9%. We didn’t know about that research….or pretty much any research. We did it because it was fun, we loved our jobs, we loved each other, and we loved the kids. And they knew it and were drawn to our classrooms. Teachers These Days talks about light-ups. That reaction we had when we saw the kids. I received light-ups from one of my role models, Ken Edmonds, when I was a kid. Wrote about that. We created light-ups with kids and those kids, now adults, tell us about those light-ups.

So I thought I’d write about that. Light-ups.

But I didn’t know about lid-flips. And so I’m reading more closely now about lid-flips because I know this is an area with which Teachers These Days are in daily contact and the advice and strategies seem helpful to kids and teachers. How at the root of about every behavior a kid has is the fact that he/she/they have not been shown how to regulate behavior. Shown. Not taught. So I need to learn more about that.

Then I can write about it.

Oh and another part that I thought I might write about is the whole conversation around the fact that every person in a school is a teacher. The best schools have a person for every kid and it may not always be the kid’s teacher. It may be the custodian. It may be the bus driver. It may be the lunch person. And that’s not only ok, it’s a cause for celebration.

And here’s some truth telling. I’m only on page 57. This book is that good. I’ve only read that far and I am having this many thoughts. That must be a thing and probably a good thing.

I’ll check back after another 50 pages. In the meantime, thank you to the Teachers These Days.

And greet ’em at the door and light-up!

Sometimes a hug.

Saw this on Twitter yesterday. If for some reason you’re not on Twitter, here’s a reason to sign up.

What is so great about this, you wonder, while dabbing your eyes? It’s a grandpa who is able to hug his grandkids for the first time because of the innovative thinking of some students.

That’s great. Simple, powerful, moving.

Sometimes a hug.

What is a negative?

“We need to make the positives so loud that the negatives become impossible to hear.” George Couros

Best professional learning. Ever.

Here’s the thing. George Couros changed the course of my career. Innovator’s Mindset changed the course of my career. His words have changed my thinking.

And lately, this quote from George, “We need to make the positives so loud that the negatives become impossible to hear,” has really been on my mind. I even called my buddy Mark Beddes to ask him to help me think it through. Take a close look at Mark’s profile pic to see what kind of a George Couros fan he is.

What I’m getting stuck on, after clearly loving this quote, to the point of buying a t-shirt with the quote on it, is the idea of….

What is a negative?

That which worries me is the possibility that while my positives are being so loud, I might be missing out on a ‘negative’ that I really need to hear. I completely understand that George is not saying to ignore challenging statements. Being open to challenge, being willing to examine and reexamine thinking are critical steps to keep growing and learning.

What I’m going to try to do is keep real loud with my positives, but dial them down for a second to make sure that a ‘negative’ is a ‘negative’ and not a very important message I really need to hear. And continue to challenge myself as to what constitutes a negative.

See? George Couros continues to challenge me. How great is that?