Monday, August 11, 2008

There is no plan and I am a planner.

I recently read The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink, the same author of A Whole New Mind.

It was my first graphic novel and a quick read and I think it is a great read for parents and students in high school or college. But it is especially a great read for new and seasoned teachers.

Pink's lists 6 essential lessons for thriving in the world of work. Here they are with my teacher twist on each one:
1. There is no plan. Snow days cancel field trips and last minute assemblies wreak havoc on your lesson plan. You're teaching 5th grade this year, but you might be teaching 8th grade next year.
2. Think strengths, not weaknesses. Always focus on what students are doing right instead of wrong.
3. It's not about you. It's about the students. Pink states, "The most valuable people in any job bring out the best in others." That is exactly what we as teachers need to focus on.
4. Persistence trumps talent. Encourage and value the student who comes to every extra help session just as much as the ones who ace every test with their eyes close. Later in life, persistence counts more than talent.
5. Make excellent mistakes. "Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes" and then they never do anything. We need to teach students that it is okay to make mistakes, "each time they make a mistake they get a little better and move a little closer to excellence" (Pink).
6. Leave an imprint. You don't want to be the teacher that everyone forgets, you want to be the teacher that everyone remembers, the teacher who gets emails from her students 30 years from now.


dstall said...

This is great! Thanks for the inspiration. I am in the process of putting together an article for our newsletter on 21st century skills and you hit on some key ideas that I need to remember to include. Hope you have a great new school year!

TJ Shay said...

I loved this post!

My favorite line was, "Think strengths, not weaknesses. Always focus on what students are doing right instead of wrong."

Imagine the transformative power of a classroom where we focused on students' strengths and adapted our teaching to those strengths. Imagine a classroom where persistence has merit. You have given us a lot to dream about.

Thank you for posting this.

Daniel Pink said...

Thanks for the kind words about Johnny Bunko. Much appreciated. I love the connections you made between the lessons and the work of teachers. Fantastic. Have a great school year!

Dan Pink

Erica Hartman said...

Dstall and TJ Shay,
Thanks for the great feedback. This year at my school will be challenging, but I need to keep reminding myself to put things in perspective. Its not about us, its about the students. Another great blog article about 21st Century skills:Googley Advice to students:
Have a great school year everyone!

Erica Hartman said...

Daniel Pink,
Thanks for taking the time to read this. After reading A Whole New Mind, it really changed the way I think about education and career. I hope to start a book chat with parents at my school this year about Johnny Bunko and A Whole New Mind.
Erica Hartman