Courtesy of the brilliant Mark Barnes:
1-Stop worrying about losing your job
For tenured teachers, this isn’t much of a problem, although there is a growing movement against tenure. Whether you have tenure or not, if you want to be a game changer, you must stop thinking about losing your job. I’ve never heard of a teacher being fired for doing what’s best for kids. Susan B. Anthony risked her life to vote. The least teachers can do is risk temporary unemployment to change children’s lives.
2-Break free from the norm
Steve Jobs never said, “We have to do what everyone else is doing.” Jobs believed in being first, in creating what others couldn’t see. When people said something couldn’t be done, it was usually because no one else was doing it. Jobs saw what established techies didn’t see, and he created it. When people say, “We can’t do that,” jump to a new fishbowl. Those who aspire to greatness will follow.
3-Start all thoughts with “What if. . .”
Hundreds of years ago when teachers were writing directions and examples on individual student slates, James Pillans wondered, What if we built one large slate board, big enough for all students in the room to see? The blackboard was born and classroom instruction worldwide changed. What if you stopped assigning traditional homework? What if you used mobile devices in class? What if you never grade another activity, project or test? Would you be a game changer? Would your students change?
Teachers constantly tell me that their principal says they have to give weekly tests or they have to assign nightly homework or they have to log a grade into an online grade book. How should this be handled, they ask. Simple. Say No! Tell education stakeholders that you intend to do what is in the best interest of every student in your classroom. If they push back, stand your ground. Be persistent and be loud. When the world hears you saying over and over again that you are going to do what is best for children, your voice becomes remarkably powerful. You become a game changer.
5-Never stop fighting
It’s possible that you won’t live to see victory. Susan B. Anthony died decades before women won the right to vote. Without her, though, woman might still be relegated to ankle-length dresses and a life in the kitchen. Someone recently said that a no grades classroom is unrealistic; when I brought up the suffragettes, he said, “look how long that took.” Game changers never think about winning the battle; they fight until it’s won or until they die, knowing someone else will carry the torch when they’re gone.
Click on the link to read Some Teachers Never Change … Literally!
Click on the link to read The Ultimate Bad Teaching Checklist
Click here to read my opinion of ‘child centered learning’ vs ‘teacher centered learning’.
Click here to read my opinion on the problem with IT in the classroom.
Click here to read my opinion on the standard of teacher training.