Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The Way | A Blog for Principals and Teachers – School Matters

 
 

Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The Way

 
 

 

 

 

iStock 000015332124XSmall 150x150 Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The WayWhat is the secret to the great teacher? What is it that defines the master educator? Mastery of the subject being taught is essential, as is a passion for the subject as well as for transferring knowledge or skill to students. Additionally, one would require some training or natural talent in order to employ the most effective methodologies available. Mastery, passion, training and talent; impressive, but something is missing.

I have known many teachers with all of the above qualifications (and, sad to say, some without) who still do not quite earn the reputation as a great teacher. While driven by their passion for teaching and possessing all the necessary talents, their students do not excel and levels of achievement do not soar. Why?

While searching for the answer, I came across the following rule, named ‘The Law of Great Expectations’, which states: Students will rise or fall to the level of communicated expectations. The secret to high achievement is high expectations. Low expectations yield low achievement.

We often sell our students short by not expecting the very best from them. While we must be careful to make sure our expectations are realistic, we should never be afraid of challenging students to excel. Teachers may feel that making students work hard, pushing them to maximize their potential will diminish their drive to learn. Quite the opposite is true. When we are less demanding, they think it must not be important. We communicate value by demanding excellence. If it’s important to do, it’s important to do well.

As of late the sports world has been captivated by the success of the Green Bay Packers, last year’s Super Bowl champion and currently the only undefeated football team. The secret to their success is an unrelenting drive towards excellence. I think their motto, ‘Chasing excellence, and catching greatness along the way’, says it all. The team has successfully communicated an expectation of high achievement, where anything less than 100% effort is simply unacceptable. It is therefore, no small wonder that perfection remains within their grasp.

A true story that perfectly illustrates the above: A new teacher is assigned to his first class. The principal does not have the heart (or the guts) to tell the teacher that he is the fifth teacher they have had that year. The other four quit, unable to deal with the various learning challenges the class presented. But to the principal’s surprise, the students begin to excel. The principal calls in the teacher and inquires as to the secret of his success. The teacher answers, “Well, with such brilliant students, how could I not succeed?” The principal is stunned. He asks the teacher, “Why do you think they’re so brilliant?” The teacher takes out the class list given to him at the beginning of the year with numbers ranging from 120-140 listed next to each student’s name. “With such I.Q. scores, I expected to succeed.” The principal laughed and exclaimed, “Those aren’t their I.Q. scores, those are their locker numbers!”

The business world has taught us that good is the greatest enemy of great. Educators seeking greatness must understand that it is to be achieved by expecting greatness. Anything less cheats both their students and themselves.

Share and Enjoy:
  • twitter Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The Way
  • linkedin Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The Way
  • facebook Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The Way
  • googlebookmark Chasing Excellence and Catching Greatness Along The Way
 

No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment


 

Educators Calendar Events

Featured Posts

Drama Free Standardized Testing

Drama Free Standardized Testing

With the drop in academic achievements and the increase in standardized testing, students sliding through their education hopefully have become a thing of the past....

 
Holiday Celebrations in Schools

Holiday Celebrations in Schools

When I went to school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas/Hanukah and Valentine’s Day were the predominant school holidays. Most teachers had their standard...

 
Diversity in the Classroom – Part 2

Diversity in the Classroom – Part 2

Last week’s blog discussed several aspects which make up diversity in the classroom. In addition, we noted various learning styles and how best to address the...

 
Diversity in the Classroom – Part I

Diversity in the Classroom – Part I

Teachers are often the first to feel the impact of rising immigration rates within their classrooms. Hispanic and Asian students in American schools have increased...

 
Creativity in the Classroom: Bring the Arts Back!

Creativity in the Classroom: Bring the Arts Back!

Most teachers and parents instinctively know that children need various modes of expression to fully develop into thriving, well-rounded adults with good self-esteem...

 
Better Ways to Use Classroom Space

Better Ways to Use Classroom Space

Most of us do not have control over which classroom we are assigned. However, we can all find ways to make the best use of the space we have. As discussed in my...

 
Flipping-Out On the Flipped Classroom

Flipping-Out On the Flipped Classroom

With this technologically savvy generation wanting to capture everything on their iPhone (“Honey, I have a great clip of the baby coming out to post on youtube...

 
With Technology in the Classroom,  The Teacher is No Longer Center Stage – Part II

With Technology in the Classroom, The Teacher is No Longer Center Stage – Part II

Last week we explored some of the positive aspects of technology in the classroom. When used correctly, technology encourages students to be active learners, inspire...

 
With Technology in the Classroom, the Teacher is No Longer Center Stage

With Technology in the Classroom, the Teacher is No Longer Center Stage

Most people believe that technology use in the classroom is a must to assure that our students have the skills and creative fortitude to function in this fast paced,...

 
Mixed Gender Behaviors in the Classroom

Mixed Gender Behaviors in the Classroom

Following two blogs I posted which generally showed that studies have found that gearing education towards gender differences leads to more successful learning,...