Successful education can be simplified to two words – Passion and Focus.
Of course, the teacher’s content knowledge, management syle, rigourous and relevant curriculum, use of assesments and data, help from parents and community – these things are all extremely important. In the end these are all solved if you are an educator who is passionate about educating kids, and extremely focused on that goal.
I believe the job of the teacher and principal is to prepare students for the world. That might mean preparing for college, or preparing for a technical school but either way it means giving them the tools to succeed. Students today need to learn how to navigate in a technolgoical world, but also learn practical applications like cooking, measuring and inventing. All of these things can be presented to students with the standard curriculum at your back. We’ve got to learn to integrate subjects, to give students knowledge of their world.
Teaching is a juggling act, implementing realistic discipline practices that focus on positive reinforcement while adding punishments for repeat offenses, pulling up the struggling students while challenging the high achievers, and keeping the state standards and assessments at high levels while not losing sight of the important artistic, social, and practical skills needed for life. All of this can be achieved when you know what you want to teach, plan an effective way to integrate subjects together, and implement your instruction with energy and content that will engage and motivate the students. Sounds tough, but that’s what makes the challenge fun!