Top ten lists

This week my latest book, It’s Like Riding a Bike: How to Make Learning Last a Lifetime was made available for purchase. This has been a project that has been worked on, for parts of the last four years. It’s crazy how much time and energy went in to it behind the scenes. I worked on dozens of presentations for national conferences, the main ideas of many making it into the pages of the text. I provided editorial corrections. I entered the marketing phase. I found my book published and available and then my phone started to ring with text messages and e-mails. My book was selling and people wanted to know if I was on the top ten list. They wanted to know if I was making money. Some just wanted to know how they could get an autographed copy. The reality is, the book wasn’t written to gain fame or fortunes. It was written to try and educate and inform. The goal was to try and move the needle of American schools and try and change the way we think and act as we teach America’s youth.

In our classrooms, many of us spend countless hours behind the scenes crafting our lessons, working to perfect our assessments and instruction. We put forth more energy away from our audience of students than we ever do in front of them. In our schools, the best teachers are not those competing to become the Teacher of The Year, to sign the most student yearbooks, or to earn peer praise or recognition. We work hard day in and day out to educate and inform. We want to create the next great generation. This may happen from lighting a spark in one person or it may come from planting enough seeds that a revolution begins.

As my book continues to sell, my goal isn’t to make myself famous. My goal is to inspire others to think and do differently. In our schools we need to be sure that is our goal as well. At this time of the year we have tremendous pressure to chase scores, to pursue recognition and praise. I challenge you: stay focused on changing minds and changing a generation. That is where real success comes from.

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