So you aren't sure who Ron Clark is? Well, there are lots of ways to find out more about Disney's 2000 Teacher of the Year and New York Times bestselling author:
Teachers in Mobile County Public Schools and surrounding districts and students from the College of Education were treated to a live "performance" by Ron, thanks to the South Alabama Research and Inservice Center. The USA Mitchell center was filled with educators at all levels hoping to glean wisdom from this exuberant founder of the Ron Clark Academy.
For two hours, the crowd laughed and applauded Ron's frank imitation of good teachers, bad teachers, and every kind in between. In his book, Move Your Bus: An Extraordinary New Approach to Accelerating Success in Work and Life, Mr. Clark describes the four types of people who either help or hinder a school faculty.
The group was in for a real treat when Ron shared personal beliefs on how to teach ("keep the dust from falling on the students") and specific teaching tips from his "big bag of tricks." These include dressing in costume (I think Ron would appreciate Professor Storytime's mortarboard!), rapping, dancing, jumping on tables and using every prop and means available to keep students engaged.
Beyond the antics and entertainment, Ron Clark delivered his message loud and clear. Our society is expecting too little from its citizens. Teachers expect too little from their students. Parents expect too little from their children. He called us out on the everybody-gets-a-trophy mentality and delivered the message that teachers have tremendous power to change the world.
I like thinking about the many teachers who woke up the next morning excited about getting to school. You can almost feel the buzz of positive energy pulsating through the hallways. And their lucky students are in for the shock of their lives!
If you're an inspired teacher, please share your experience by leaving a comment!