I was a new teacher eleven years ago. But as the new school year begins, it is more apparent to me than ever, that I am a new teacher every year. As educators, we are understandably focused on all there is to teach, and yet we must also be mindful of all there is to learn. The summer has given me bit of time to reflect on my own learning during my time in education and to identify the top eleven lessons I learned in as many years and to pay homage to the wise colleagues who have been my teachers. With their inspiration, I head into the next school year and those to come with a mindset not simply of, “What am I here to teach?” but “What am I here to learn?” On behalf of our students, I encourage you to do the same.
Lesson 1 – Meet the students where they are and take them where they need to go, even if that means to another country. Travel with your students, intellectually and literally. (Mr. Casolaro)
Lesson 2 – Have a vision for what you want to achieve and then work your butt off to achieve it. Build it from the ground up if necessary. (Mr. Garufi, Sr.)
Lesson 3 –Prioritize. This is easy. Students come first. Then Colleagues. Then Parents. All are important, but when it is time to make decisions, consider each group in that order. (Thank you, Mr. Martino – my former teacher and mentor whom I miss often)
Lesson 4 – Associate with people who challenge your thoughts and decisions. The best way to be innovative in your field is to collaborate with trendsetters in other professions. Seeing a different part of the world through their eyes, will allow you to be innovative in education. David and Goliath theme, shout out to Malcolm Gladwell. (Fr. Reilly)
Lesson 5 – Life lessons should be a part of every curriculum. Do not be afraid to share your experiences with your students. They will remember those lessons for the rest of their lives. (Coach Iaconelli)
Lesson 6 – Laugh. When you work with young men, there is humor everywhere. Certain days can be a grind. Find the humor and share it with others. Smile and laugh. It helps. (Ms. Federici)
Lesson 7 – Be passionate about the content. Twenty years from now, a student may not remember a fact, but he will remember your passion. That passion will ignite life-long learning in others. (Mr. Carmichael)
Lesson 8 – Learn how to tell a good story. Storytelling is a powerful tool that every educator should utilize. Tell a story, and you will motivate students (or players) to achieve amazing things. (Coach Rodio)
Lesson 9 – Be humble. (Mr. Spina, the greatest teacher that I know)
Lesson 10 – There is a right way and a wrong way. Choose the right way. Push forward even when you meet resistance, you know what is right. (Fr. Paul)
Lesson 11 – Be authentic. Young people respond to authentic adults. (My students)
I am grateful to be surrounded by wonderful, inspirational teachers. There are countless lessons that I could have shared with you, but these are the ones that resonated with me the most. As teachers, we need to teach, but we also need to learn. Who are your teachers and what are your most valuable lessons? Share with me. I look forward to learning from you. #11TeacherLessons
Good luck in the school year ahead!