Friday, June 20, 2014

Let's Agree NOT to have an Opinion!!!

I had the distinct honor to hear the gentleman in the picture above.  He was the keynote speaker at the Niswonger Symposium on June 18, 2014 in Greeneville, Tennessee.  It was such a wonderful, uplifting, motivating, life-changing presentation.  It was an I-want-to-get-back-in-my-classroom-right-now kind of moment when he finished.  He is amazing. 

You can check out his full story without any of my embellishments at the following site:

Mr. Charbonneau is from a small town in Washington state called Zillah.  I was very tempted to ask how far this was from Forks and if he had ever met Edward and Bella, but he was such a ROCK STAR in the building, I didn’t have the guts.  I DID, however, get to sit beside him during a break-out session -  thus the selfie. 

Sidenote:  He decided to attend the sessions.  The National Teacher of the year decides to go hear other teachers in good old Tennessee talk about their best classroom practices.  He chose to come to one…………….

She acted cool about it.  She was truly an I-got-it-all-together kind of gal..clearly.
Guess what happened……..
You as a teacher know!!!!!!!!!...........
What always happens when you are being monitored, evaluated, video-taped, or stalked by a ROCK STAR or administration???????

        You guessed it - technology failure!!!!!!  However, I am proud to say she pulled out of it like a pro.  Her presentation was WONDERFUL!!!!!  We were all soooooooo engaged.  We loved her use of Frozen and, then we were all supportive of her essay written entirely about the perfect qualities of Pal’s Frenchie Fries.  Needless to say, Mr. Charbonneau was just a little lost at this point, until he remembered somebody from Niswonger had brought him a really great tea that day, and he thought it might have been from Pal’s.  Way to go, Niswonger!!!!

Back to the whole reason for this blog………….how I was motivated.  He had to………just HAD TO…………..HAD TO mention Common Core and all or its controversial glory.  Here’s the meat of what he said.  When a person asks him as a teacher how he felt about Common Core, he asked them which part?

·      If you are asking about the standards, he has one answer.
·      If you are asking about the curriculum based on those standards, he has another answer.
·      If you are asking about the testing that is being done based on common core curriculum and standards, he has another answer.
·      If you are asking about the data gathered from those tests and what is being done about and with that data, he has another answer.

Now here’s the beautiful moment.  Here is his suggestion.  Here’s where he had the crowd really FEELING it. 

How about if we as teachers all agree not to have a comment about common core that we feel the need to fling out at the grocery store.

How about if we as teachers do the following…………………………

Teach our Kids

That’s it.  Simple as that.  You had to be there to feel it.  BUT THINK ABOUT IT.  There is nothing we can do today, or this week, or this month, or this year about Common Core, teacher evaluations, formative testing, etc.  We can’t change it.  We can’t fix it.  We can’t hide from it.  So why not do the one thing we should be doing……..what we should LOVE doing……..what we were hired to do…………..

Teach our Kids

He challenged us as teachers to go out into the public, to go into Food City and Dollar General, to go into the negative world of TEACHERS ARE OFF ALL SUMMER WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO GRIPE ABOUT world and maybe do something amazing………….praise our job.  praise our work.  praise our students.  praise our school.  praise our coworkers.  praise our school system. 

As Mr. Charbonneau pointed out, if we ALL did that just in one night - nationwide!!!!!!!!.......can you imagine how the face of education would change.

So here’s my plan.   I’m going to work. HARD!!!!  I'm going to change things for the better.  I’m going to do my job better than I did last year which was better than the year before and the year before………I’m going to LOVE those kids.  I’m going to realize I can’t change the minds of anybody in Nashville or Washington.  I’m going to accept whatever they hand to me.  I’m simply going to.. 

Teach our Kids


  1. Hi there! I always see you on the TpT forum so I wanted to stop by your blog and say hi!! I loved reading your post about the speaker you saw. It sounded like he was great! I always find it so motivating after hearing a great presenter! I think you have a great plan for the upcoming school year to just Teach your kids! It's so sad with all the pressure of the common core and evaluations because at the end of the day, that is our job, just to teach!!! I look forward to reading more of your posts! Happy Summer!
    Tricks of the Trade in First Grade

    1. Hi, Andrea!!! I had already followed your blog from TpT!!!!! Thank you so much for stopping by to comment. If you get a chance to hear him speak or if he ever writes a book.........GO FOR IT. He is such a motivational speaker yet humble and grateful for everything. I agree with the pressures and the sadness they create - Let's just keep teaching!!!!!!!! Have a great summer - it will go by quickly!!!