Support Our Teacher Colleagues

Four women sitting in a circle and clapping as a fifth woman stands and shares some achievement

This another post from my old blog that I’m reposting here. I recently share Patrice’s blog on using students’ strengths in class ( and it reminded me of this challenge from Shelly Terrell’s wonderful 30 Goals Challenge! In this case, I focused on my colleague’s strengths and what I have learned from them!

Feel free to play along with me by doing any or all of the following :

  1. Leave a comment with something you learned from another teacher, admin, or even student.
  2. Tell a colleague directly something you admire about them. Feel free to share what happens.
  3. Write a letter, anonymous or not, to a colleague listing what you admire from them.
  4. Post your own list on your blog or social media, with real or fake names.

Goal 4: Reveal their Strengths

Short-term–  Think about a student or colleague you wish was more motivated. Share with them the traits and things you admire about them. Talk to them about their strengths and help them find ways to share these strengths with others. Post what happens in a blog. If you don’t have a blog please post any of your creations on Twitter using the #30Goals hashtag or as a comment on this blog.

Long-term– In your curriculum, include projects where students get to be creative and show other talents. Try getting your colleagues to share their strengths online or through workshops held at your school.

I feel it would be a bit presumptuous of me to try to give advice to my fellow teachers without being asked for it. I am lucky to work in a school with a really tight team of great teachers and I think we help each other all day long. We constantly praise each other and try to keep each other motivated.

So instead of talking to them directly, I’m going to make a list of things my colleagues have taught me. I don’t think I’ve ever done this. I don’t think they really know how many of their ideas I have stolen. So I really am revealing their strengths and how it has made me a better teacher. Huge amounts of what I do are just stolen from my fellow teachers and adapted. There is no way I could remember every single idea or lesson plan I got from one of my dear colleagues.

I’m also doing this pseudonymously since they haven’t given me approval to be on this blog-I’m pretty sure my logic is obscure enough to make it impossible for even them to guess.

  • Thanks to Sangria for teaching me to put clear objectives on the board, make clear instructions for projects and hand them out (not just up on the board), not be afraid to uncompartmentalize my life a bit.
  • Thanks to Donegal for showing me to switch guys’ web browsers in order to embarrass them when they are on the wrong website in our computer classes, for also helping me not be afraid to be more myself and less teacherly with my students.
  • Thanks to Cambridge for great examples of rubrics and raising interesting curricula questions.
  • Thanks to Thatcher for a lot of advice especially teaching classes and levels I had never taught before and and for showing me that a teacher with a great deal more experience than I have can still be confused and not confident.
  • Thanks to Hurricane for a model of a way to keep my sense of humor in the classroom and have fun while still being strict.
  • Thanks to Cleveland for being basically a mentor to me and teaching me everything else I know, especially as I have been adjusting to working an intensive program.

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