Sunday, August 2, 2015

Multiple Personalities

The more books and blogs I read from my education mentors, the more confused I become.

I have found the best ideas from the brightest and most innovative educators, but they can't all fit inside my head.

Luckily, I found a solution. Take the best piece of each one and work to make it part of who I am as a teacher. Give in to the multiple personalities, so to speak.

Instead of trying to be Donalyn Miller, the book whisperer, I'll take her passion for helping students find the right books for them. I will talk about the books I read and give students time to read every day in my classroom because that's what I value. I won't bog students down with language arts and crafts. I will be nerdy.

Instead of trying to be Kelly Gallagher, I will take his passion for avoiding Readicide and guiding students through the six real-world writing purposes. I will write (sneeze) in front of my students and never teach a book to death. I will always consider what is in the best interest of my students.

Instead of trying to be Erik Palmer, I'll take his passion for teaching effective communication skills. I will teach PVLEGS from day 1, provide tons of practice and make speaking and listening an integral part of my ELA curriculum. I will also teach students how to build a speech and help them understand the difference between argument and persuasion.

Instead of trying to be Kyleen Beers and Bob Probst, I'll take their passion for finding signposts in fiction (and soon to be non-fiction) in order to help my students make connections to achieve better understanding. I'll help students ask questions to push their thinking.

Instead of trying to be Dave Burgess, I'll take his passion for creating experiences and hooking students into an excitement for learning. I'll look for ways to immerse my students in what we are doing and transform my lessons. I'll share my personal passion with students and build rapport with play-doh, Legos,  and the occasional teacher-flying-around-the-room-like-an-airplane experience.

Instead of trying to be Paul Solarz, I'll take his passion for students leading the classroom and I'll create a climate of mutual respect. I'll use "give me five" and allow all students to feel the responsibility for the way the classroom is run. I'll use peer feedback and eportfolio reflections to help students take ownership of their learning.

Instead of trying to be Matt Miller, I'll take his passion for creating a digital, paperless classroom and ditch my "textbook" ELA curriculum in favor of experiences that engage my students. I will look beyond textbooks and worksheets and give my students freedom to connect with the world outside our classroom.

Instead of trying to be the fabulous members of my PLN (you know who you are), I'll take their passionate ideas and find ways to incorporate them into my own. I'll continue to read their blog posts, scroll through their tweets, listen to their Voxes and scan their emails. I know that I can't be just like them, but I'm happy that even a little part of their brilliance can be shared with my students.

How lucky my students are to have a teacher with  multiple personalities.


  1. Outstanding Sandy! I've felt exactly the same way, but you put into words something that I couldn't. Thank you for this amazingly reflective blog post! :)

    1. Thanks, Paul. I felt like I was trying to be too many other teachers instead of being the best me. There will never be another Paul Solarz, but your ideas can live on in many of us.

  2. Brilliant post Sandy! It truly CAN be overwhelming to integrate ALL the amazing ideas from the education superstars we learn from. You have captured EXACTLY how I've been feeling this summer and reached the same conclusion

    Becoming the best teacher I possibly can, guarantees that I cannot morph into those I learn from, and it would be a loss for everyone if I try!

    We should continue to borrow and learn from each other, it makes us stronger, while recognizing our own personal talents, skills, and abilities.

    Thanks for putting words to this truth!

    1. Thanks, Angela. Been feeling this post for a while, wondering why I've felt so overwhelmed. Writing it was like cheap therapy.

  3. Sandy, Great job putting this into words. We take the best parts.... or at least the parts we can make work and then put it into something that works for our students. Thanks for writing this. I will share with my staff.

  4. Excellent post, Sandy!! Taking a little from each author will make you more phenomenal in the classroom than you already were! Rock on!! 👍🏼

  5. I love your post, Sandy! It is something that I definitely needed to read at this time. I have a stack of PD to read & re-read. But I know I can't be all of these great people. Now, I know I can be 'me" but sprinkled with their main purposes or goals. I will take what they wrote and just try my best.