Inspiration From an Unlikely Source

It was my 46th birthday in March. With that specific number came a mix of emotions and thoughts, not many of them particularly good. I am now officially closer to 50 than to 40, which was sort of hard to swallow for me. Later on in the day, I received an email from a parent. As a teacher, parent emails can put you over the edge in many ways. This one was very different. It was by far the nicest, most inspiring email I have ever received as an educator. In short, it validated everything I have ever done as an educator. The email included the quote below from Maya Angelou which sums up the essence of the message.

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

This quote resonated with me in so many ways as an educator and as a person. It was obviously nice to hear that I had made someone FEEL good about their experiences with me as a teacher and that those experiences impacted someone positively. However, it made me look more introspectively about my practices as an educator.

Here is what I have learned…

  • Students are more likely to connect with teachers when teachers make it a priority to connect with them.
  • When students are comfortable with their teachers they are more willing to take risks with their learning.
  • Students need to know that teachers care about them as individuals and not just about the content they learn.

I know I could go on.

What would you add to this list? What or whom has inspired you?

Using Google Images

Source image to the one : By Bronwynne Gwyneth Anne Jones , CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0

One of the most common misconceptions that people have about using images online is that you can use whatever image you find when you search. That is simply not true. All images are copyrighted the minute they are created. They are owned by the photographer or artist. In many cases, images that end up online are used by people without permission from the owner of the image. This is a common practice that is, in fact, illegal. So, what can you do if you are putting together that killer presentation and you find the greatest image ever, but it’s not yours? You could reach out directly to the person who owns the image to ask for permission, although that could be difficult depending on where the image came from. However, there are ways to find images where the creators have already given permission for various kinds of use (so long as you give attribution to the creator.) These images are licensed under Creative Commons. There is a special page on their site for media searches or you can do a Google Image search and then use the search tools to limit your results by usage rights. Regardless of the method, it’s much better to find images that you can legally use.

Special thanks to Judy Van Alstyne for her mad proofing skills!


During some recent Twitter travels I stumbled onto a blog post by Tom Whitby, called We Have To Stop Pretending… #MakeSchoolDifferent. I found another from the Open Teaching Blog put together by University of Oklahoma called, We Have To Stop Pretending…. Both of these posts have a common thread, and that is to #MakeSchoolDifferent. This all began with a simple post from Scott Mcleod, entitled, We Have To Stop Pretending. After reading these posts, I felt inspired to share my own thoughts. To anyone reading this, let’s keep this going!

When it comes to education, we have to stop pretending that…

  • Academic rigor can only occur in a traditional classroom setting.
  • Grades aren’t punitive and detrimental to student growth.
  • Test scores and grades directly correlate to how intelligent you are.
  • The “real” world and “real” work only begins after you graduate from school.
  • That all students need go to college in order to be successful.