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.)

Monday, February 16, 2009


Dallas, TX


Spoke to pre-service teachers this morning, then college faculty (teacher educators) this afternoon.  After outlining my grand plan to save the world through creative, rigorous, balanced teaching, a concern came up.


“Many of our teacher candidates want to teach like this, but the administration at the school they are working in has mandated the use of highly scripted teaching materials and programs.  They want to know what they can do.”


Tough one.  This hasn’t been the case for me (my school has been very supportive of my creative teaching style), and I’m guessing that it won’t be an issue in the future.  I would either utilize my now-amplified voice to make change happen, or just find a different district in which to work.


But what was my advice to young teachers without these options?  “If you have to, then you have to, at least for the first few years of your career.  Make the most of it, be as creative as possible, and find what is good about the curriculum.  Learn from it.  Once you’ve been there a while, and had some success in your classroom and the community, work to change the system.”


Patience, young grasshoppers.  Change takes time.



  1. Would you post the maya angelou quote you had on your presentation for the preservice teachers? I didn't get a chance to write it down but really enjoyed it. Thanks!!

  2. No problem! Here it is:

    "We are all creative, but by the time we are three of four years old, someone has knocked the creativity out of us. Some people shut up the kids who start to tell stories. Kids dance in their cribs, but someone will insist they sit still. By the time the creative people are ten or twelve, they want to be like everyone else."
    - Maya Angelou


Feel free to question, disagree, challenge, or make suggestions! I'm a big boy. I can take it.