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THE EXCELLENT 11

BY RON CLARK
SUMMARY
By
Joel Lewinsohn, Teacher

Introduction

Having been teaching for nearly fifteen years,


it is easy to lose the spark that I had for
teaching when I first started out. The last four
years has seen some changes in education
that have changed what and how I teach.
Leadership styles have changed to match the
new pressures of collaborative or shared
leadership. Although we, the teachers, have
more power to make positive changes in our
buildings, this power does not seem to come
with additional time or funding.

Who is author Ron Clark?

Ron Clark, is an inspirational writer concerning


his experiences as a teacher. It was a good
read to spark my own thinking skills concerning
what I continue to value about my teaching
career. His concluding remarks concerning
passion as the personification of teaching
reminded me that I need to continue to
maintain a level of compassion and excitement
in my daily teaching activities. According to
Clark (2004), passion is the fire in our hearts
and the determination in our minds to make a
difference (p. 242).

Quality 1 is enthusiasm

Enthusiasm provides us as teachers with


the self-esteem and energy necessary to
accomplish our jobs. While it is important
to be fun and exciting, the focus should
be on the educational purpose of the
lesson. Motivating students is fine, but
they also need to learn the concepts.

Quality 2 is adventure

Teachers have to place a spark in their


[students] hearts and give them
[students] something to look forward to
(p. 23). Keep the adventure within
realistic limits. Plan out the adventure
before each unit so that the excitement
can be built up to exciting climax of the
unit.

Quality 3 is creativity

The best teachers and parents are the


ones who are able to think outside the
box and put themselves in the mind-set
of the children they teach (p. 52).
Teachers that take the time to treat
children like they are special will
maximize the potential for students to
achieve higher standards.

Quality 4 is reflection

Its important for children to be able to see


how they have grown and improved (p. 82)
throughout their education. This is not just a
grade on a report card, but an actual chart,
portfolio, or accomplishment that they can
reflect upon and gain an understanding of
their own abilities.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by

reflection, which is noblest; second, By imitation,


which is easiest; and third,By experience which is
bitterest.

-Confucius (c. 551-479 B.C.)

Quality 5 is balance

Teachers should make sure they are using


a balanced approach toward education
and addressing all the different learning
levels and styles that are present in the
children (p. 115). The same is true for
discipline. There is a fine line between
balanced classroom management and
authoritarianism. Teachers must be willing
to work with children to attain a
comfortable classroom atmosphere that is
conducive to learning.

Quality 6 is compassion

We must teach compassion and kindness


in our schools. This includes paying
attention to bullying of all sorts. Children
must feel safe and respected at all times.
When conflicts arise, children need to be
taught how to resolve these situations.

Quality 7 is confidence

Through repetition and mastery of skills,


students will gain confidence. Teachers
have the ability to inspire our students to
greatness and truly make them realize
their potential (p. 159-160). It is just not
setting the bar for student achievement
that is important, but to also build a fire to
inspire children to reach for it. Teachers
have the dual responsibility of both
establishing the goals and helping
students to reach them.

Quality 8 is humor

. Humor, when present in the learning


environment, the joy and delight that
come from humor can be powerful tools
when getting students to put forth effort
and achieve at the highest levels (p.
166). Teachers should use their
personalities to bring about a positive
and humorous classroom environment
that will lead to an energized learning
environment.

Quality 9 is common sense

It is not just enough to tell children what


you want them to do, but to take the
time with children to develop skills (p.
181) and ensure that they understand.
Activities that provide children with the
opportunity to become self-sufficient are
important for development.

Quality 10 is appreciation

Teachers should reflect upon the


awesome responsibility bestowed upon
us by parents. We are entrusted with
educating children. Children should learn
to feel appreciated and to show
appreciation for others.

Quality 11 is resilience

Teaching can be a difficult job to maintain


a positive attitude. It is important to
maintain perspective, use your resources,
and keep the focus on the students.
Teachers need to take care of themselves
to avoid burnout. By drawing on the
other qualities a teacher can maintain a
satisfying career.

Resource

Clark, Ron. (2004).


The excellent 11:
Qualities teachers
and parents use to
motivate, inspire,
and educate
children. New York:
Hyperion.