Regardless of age, if you put a group of individuals in the same space, where some know each other and some don’t, where some are from the area and some aren’t, and where some feel overly confident and some feel insecure, inevitably conflict will arise. We’ve seen this play out on 38 seasons of Survivor (can you believe that?!) and in classics such as Lord of the Flies. We also see this play out everyday in classrooms and schools with students, staff, family, and community members.
If you have ever had the opportunity to watch Ella Bess Marshall teach children or lead a coaching meeting with an adult, you know about 2 minutes in that you are in the presence of greatness (aka: a truly talented teacher). Ella Bess began teaching in 2006 and since that time has taught upper elementary and middle school math and coached 4th-8th grade math. In 2010, she was on the founding team at Henderson Collegiate and is there currently serving as an instructional coach and grade level chair coach. If you happen to find yourself in Henderson, North Carolina, go check her out. You will leave a better educator.
The past couple of weeks a few events happened simultaneously that led to the inspiration for today’s post. I talked with my friend, Zach Mercurio, author of The Invisible Leader, about purpose in education. If you missed my post “How Purpose and Singapore Can Increase Teacher Retention,” I talked about his research there as well. Being purpose-driven is one of my soapboxes because I really believe it’s a game-changer in leading toward success and fulfillment. He shared with me the David Yaeger research article, “Boring, but Important.”
Do you remember studying for the ACT or GRE? Did you buy the vocabulary flashcards or make your own? I remember the summer of 2009 as “The One With the GRE Flashcards” because I took them everywhere and reviewed them in every spare moment. Whether it was by the pool, in the DMV, at the doctor’s office, or at my kitchen table, my anxiety about memorizing the vocabulary words continued to increase. I remember wishing I had received better vocabulary instruction in school. The reality is, in many places, we still aren’t YET teaching vocabulary, or word study, well. The key word here is: YET.
I entered the teaching profession hungry to learn how to be a great educator and ready to become the next National Teacher of the Year! I watched Stand and Deliver, Freedom Writers, Dangerous Minds, Lean on Me, and Dead Poets Society, just to name a few. I was ready!
As LeBron James says, “Nothing is Given. Everything is Earned.” Regardless of your feelings on LeBron, it is important for our young people (well, all people) to internalize this life lesson.