Posted in #HowToTeacher Rules, Note to Teachers, Pep Talk, Perseverance

#HowToTeacher Rule 2: Every Learner Can Learn

Dear Teacher,

Yesterday, I presented the idea of the #HowToTeacher Rules and gave you Rule 1 (if you haven’t read it, go there first…this post will make more sense if you do).  I feel like that rule is key to being a great teacher.  All other things that great teachers believe and do stem from the passion for teaching and learning.  Rule 2 is tied very closely to the first, but it focuses on who you teach.  These two rules are the key to all of the others!

You know what?  Maybe I should tell you what Rule 2 is before I talk about how great it is.  🙂  Let me do that now.

#HowToTeacher Rule 2: Great teachers believe firmly that ALL students can learn and they act on those beliefs.

Great teachers believe firmly that ALL students can learn an they act on those beliefs.  This is just something that is in the DNA of great teachers.  There does not seem to be any challenge too big for them.  They are relentless in the idea that every student in their classroom can learn.  It seems like they have a million tools in their bag of teacher tricks to try.  Nothing that students can throw at them will change their minds that every student can learn.

Students with IEPs?

No problem.  They have been to trainings, talked to other teachers, and read strategies for this just for fun.

ESOL students that have little to no English?

Great teachers have workbooks, translators, and are even learning the language the best that they can (almost enough to almost enough to say a couple of things to parents during conferences).

Class with five ADHD poster children all at once?

Multiple seating options, standing desks, a focus corner, and lots and lots of back-up activities for different learning styles.

Apathetic students?

They don’t know who they are messing with.  “I can’t” or “I won’t” are not words that great teachers understand.  They will find a way to reach those students (or die trying)!

I could go on and on, but you get where I am going here.  Great teachers are not stumped by students with difficult situations or difficult students.  Their belief in the ability of every student to learn trumps the challenges to make that happen.  They live for the teaching and learning process (Rule 1), and they will not accept that anyone is not able to be a part of that process.

You know the teachers like this.  They make other teachers frustrated with their refusal to think that any student student can not learn at the same level (with scaffolding) as the others.  These teachers make the other teachers want to try harder and find a way to reach each and every student.  They are relentlessly relentless!

This is the key to great teaching.  You must not only believe that this is true, but you have to act like you believe it.  Never give up on a student.  Never stop finding ways to reach them.  There is some way for each student to learn and you will find it!

DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
DearTeacherLT2015 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

How to find paths for each student will be covered in other #HowToTeacher Rules, but the belief that every student can learn has to got to come first!

I know you are one of the never-give-up teachers!  You are one of the amazing ones that won’t take “I can’t” for an answer!  I applaud you for that.  You are an awesome teacher!  Thank you for all that you do to reach your students!  Never stop!  Keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher



Posted in #HowToTeacher Rules

#HowToTeacher Rule 1: Passion for Teaching & Learning

Dear Teacher,

Throughout my time in the classroom, I made great efforts to meet, talk to, and observe as many teachers as I can.  In my role now as a STEM teacher at a Science Center, I see teachers with their classes everyday.  Through the process of observing and talking to teachers, I have been able to come into contact with some of the greatest teachers…and there are definitely some commonalities and trends among them.

I have decided to try and put words to what I have seen and experienced when it comes to great teaching, and I am calling these observations the “#HowToTeacher Rules.”  Take them for what they are worth.  🙂  With this post I would like to present Rule 1:

#HowToTeacher Rule 1: Great teachers are passionate about the teaching and learning process.

Great teachers know that the journey of learning is more important than the destination of specific content.  How students learn how to learn on their own is of the highest priority.  No matter what the system says, great teachers (like you) make this rule one each and every year and day!


If you are reading this, something tells me you agree with this rule.  You are one of those great and amazing teachers.  You know that it is more about how to learn than rote knowledge.  You stand up for what you believe when it comes to this…and that is one of the things that makes you awesome!

Keep on believing in the heart of education, keep up the good fight for it, and keep on teaching, Teacher!

Love, Teacher

PS…I apologize for any typos – I wrote this with my phone. 🙂

Posted in Challenge, General Inspiration, Pep Talk

One Thing

Dear Teacher,

As I talked about yesterday, we have so much to do, think, and and be throughout our each day.  I am feeling the weight of the pull of the thousand things that are tugging at me today.

I am trying to take my own advice and try to make sure that my focus is on the students and what they need.  The hard part is deciding what those things are!  Even if I move my focus to students and their needs, there are still so many things to choose from.  Picking a direction and running at it is important, but knowing which direction is best each day can be a challenge.

The idea of just finding “one thing” comes to mind.  One thing, one focus, one direction is all that we need.  We just have to make a decision.  How do you do that?


Where did you get to yesterday in your content?  What do your students seem to be lacking from prior content?  What are the learning/thinking skills that they need most?  What strategies are they responding to the most?

Get all of this into your mind.  What is the one thing that stands out the most?  What is the biggest student need across the board?  What is the one area that needs to most work or most support?

That is your “one thing,”

Make this deficit area, thinking/processing sill, or content topic your goal and focus today.  Make everything else revolve around it.  Let the noise of all of the other thousand things be in the background as you work through this one thing that students need most.

Will you have to answer to why you made this choice?  Sure.  Might it cause conflict?  Yes.  But no matter what you choose to focus on will cause other things to fall to the wayside and cause the same kind of drama.  You just have to make sure the thing you choose is student-focused.  That is all that really matters.

Remember, when you are asked, “Why are you doing _______________?”  Your answer better have “students” at its core!

Students are our goal and focus.  Don’t be afraid to make a stand for them.  It will all come out in the end.  Students and their needs…their one thing each day…will never disappoint or let you down.  The short-run may hold conflict, but that conflict won’t outlast the joy of students learning and learning how to learn in your classroom.  That trumps all and will win the day in the end!

(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)
(c)DearTeacherLT2013 (You may use the image if you link back to the blog and/or give credit to Dear Teacher/Love Teacher)

You are awesome and amazing!  I know you know how to make “one thing” choices…don’t be afraid to!  I have your back and so do all of the other teachers out there.  Student learning is never a bad focus.  Stand firm and take a stand today with it!  Never fear it!  Keep on finding those “one things” and teach on, Teachers!

Love, Teacher