Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Why the Best Teachers Are Like Jerry Rice

While I don't want to begin a debate about which athlete will be remembered as the greatest NFL player of all time, I do want to point out that Jerry Rice has been mentioned in that conversation for years. Rice put together an undeniably incredible career even though he was never the fastest or strongest athlete on the field. How did he do it?

For those who have followed sports for a number of years, particularly professional football, Jerry Rice often is remembered as the athlete who set the standard for off-season training regimens and workout discipline and intensity. Arguably no one worked harder to improve during the off-season each year than Jerry Rice. Rice certainly gave 100% every season, but he separated himself from the rest of the league during the off-season.

At the end of the last school year, as I have done at the end of each year that I've led a school, I challenged my teachers to to find something to recharge their batteries over the summer. I believe this is non-negotiable for educators. However, for the best teachers, recharging batteries does not have to be done at the exclusion of training and preparation for the upcoming school year.

The best teachers, like Jerry Rice and football, will have worked diligently to improve their content knowledge or teaching skills, to catch up on the latest technology or research in their fields, to write and contribute to the body of knowledge in their fields, to attend seminars, workshops, conferences and graduate school classes, and more. Because our busy schedules often afford us little professional development time during the school year, off-season training can be crucial. I guarantee that if you watch your teachers during inservice, during the first few weeks of school, and then throughout the year, the Jerry Rices of your school will be pretty obvious.

Caveat: I make no guarantees for the performance of these teachers during the annual student-faculty flag football game.

1 comment:

Ericka Hollis said...

I must admit that I read this post because I LOVE JERRY RICE so kudos to you on creative title post!

I'm in agreement the best teachers work on their skills all year around and there is the need to "recharge" during halftime so to speak.

What suggestions do you have for honing these skills with the type of demands that are placed on teachers during the academic school year? What about online professional development activities or online professional learning communities? Do you think these would work for your teachers?