Thoughts, links & ideas from the 2008 National Teacher of the Year

Each time I've taken off in a plane since May (which is a lot), I've been writing in my journal, then adding these journal entries on this blog.

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(Note: the blue posted dates are actually the dates I wrote the journal entries, not when I posted them online.)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Mike Geisen Story? Probably not.

Charlotte, NC


I finally got a chance to see Ron Clark, 2000 Disney Teacher of the Year, best-selling author, founder of the Ron Clark Academy, inspiration for "The Ron Clark Story" movie, and friend of Oprah.  I think the Disney award fits, because he is one animated dude!  He’s passionate, energetic, and fun to listen to.


I actually didn’t know anything about him before this crazy year started, but a colleague was teasing me that since I’m the Teacher of the Year, they’re going to make a movie out of my life.  I kinda doubt that.  I'm hoping for a school named after me, though, so my name will be on everyone's gym clothes.


I had a few minutes to talk with Ron before his presentation last night, and he was very kind and personable.  Overall, I was impressed.  I didn’t think I would be.


I figured from what I had seen of him, he’d be fairly egocentric and somewhat Disneyfied.  And I suppose there was a bit of that, as is probably inevitable.  But his passion for kids, for education, and for community change within a global perspective is really quite amazing.  He doesn’t just talk about it (like I feel that I sometimes do,) he acts on it.  He acts in bold, courageous ways, and never with a half-assed effort.  He jumps in with both feet together (like when he jumped into a hot oven at Dunkin’ Donuts and got locked in… funny story, ask him about it sometime…)


While not every teacher can be a Ron Clark (and it’s probably best that they’re not!), his enthusiasm is certainly contagious (and exhausting,) and we can learn a great deal from his bold and innovative approaches to education.


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