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Be The Best Teacher In The World


Dave Ramsey recently wrote an article entitled High-Performance Achievement and it’s about his training to run of a marathon. In this article, we’re going to look at how you can use that knowledge to help you become the best teacher in the world.

In Seth Godin’s latest book, “The Dip” (which I’m going to read this summer), he talks about being the best in the world. That term is defined basically as the best in your sphere of influence at doing what you do. My goal as a band director is to be the best band director in my school district. Then my goal is to have the best band at whatever competition we go to. Then my goal is to have the best… and on it goes. One step at a time.

What do a financial guy a marketing guy have to do with teaching?

I’m glad you asked! I am convinced that customer service is at the root of education. In fact, I am convinced that customer service is at the root of everything that we do in life. Redefine your world view for a second and see if it works for you.

I look for ideas that can directly or indirectly apply to my job in many places. If all we do is read crusty old educational journals or just talk to other teachers, we miss it. We lose the wonder and newness that we once had with this whole thing.

Here’s Dave’s article High-Performance Achievement for you

“Don’t limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve.” – Mary Kay AshRecently I set an intimidating and seemingly unreachable goal for myself – to complete a marathon. Overwhelming? Definitely. Crazy? Probably. Reachable? YES. There was no question of whether I would do it halfway, just doing enough to get by. I was going to give it my all. To do this, I knew I was going to have to change some habits and sacrifice in ways I never had before.

Just a few weeks ago, after months of training, I did it. I completed the Country Music Marathon in Nashville, and you know what? All the sacrifices were worth it. All the people I’ve talked with agree. The early-morning runs, the loss of sleep, the physical pain, the mental battles… all are worth it in the end. Yes, I achieved my goal and learned a lot about running, but I didn’t tell you all that just to say I ran 26.2 miles and got a medal for it.

Here are 3 keys points I took away from my marathon experience. I hope you will take these valuable lessons that I’ve learned recently and apply them to specific areas in your life – your money, getting out of debt, marriage, parenting, spirituality, you name it.

1. High-Performance Achievement vs. “just getting the job done.” You have to go beyond your normal efforts to achieve high performance. You have to sacrifice intentionally. You have to do something different from what you’ve done before to reach a new level of personal excellence. People who reach a level of high-performance achievement grasp this. That’s why they’re different. If you want to distinguish yourself from people who are normal and just want to “get the job done,” aim high, set clear goals, and give it all you’ve got.

2. Keep away from negative people. If you’re trying to reach a positive goal, what benefit are negative people to you? NONE, so get away from them. Stick to positive influences in your life. It was so great to see people along the course that were cheering and encouraging me to keep going while I was running. There’s nothing like encouragement while you’re trying to achieve a big goal, is there? It may be tempting to have a “pity party” or jump on the cynical bandwagon, but it won’t be worth it in the end. Continuous negativity brings you down, so stay away from it.

3. Visualize achieving your goal. While I was training, I studied the course route over and over. I knew where I would be in the city at every mile marker. I knew where the hills were and where the straight stretches would be. The course wasn’t going to surprise me because I visualized myself working toward achieving each small goal along the way. The same goes if you want to get out of debt. If the big goal is to be debt-free in 2 years, that may seem a little overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to set small goals along the way – paying off your debts smallest to largest. Quick wins will give you momentum to keep working toward the larger goal and help you visualize achieving it as well.

Be sure to talk with those around you who have achieved great goals they set for themselves. Find out what they did to overcome their intimidating obstacles and what they learned throughout the process.

Always aim for your absolute highest and best – “gazelle intensity” is what I call it. Doing anything halfway should not be an option. Extend this kind of intensity and focus into all areas of your life, and you can and will transform your life for the better.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

4 thoughts on “Be The Best Teacher In The World

  1. Joel, you are speakin’ my language! WOW-what great points! Educators do not step out of “their field” near enough. Seth and other genius minds give us new perspectives on doing what matters most in our work. You are right on point about customer service-with parents, with kids, with one another! When WHO we teach becomes more important than WHAT we teach, then we are getiing someplace! I love your conversation! Looking forward to more!

  2. Thanks, Angela. I only discovered Seth early this year and have been amazed by the brilliance of much of what he writes. I love how common-sense he comes across and how he applies things from one field to seemingly unrelated ones. I also wrote a little bit more about this in Finding Excellent Educators To Emulate.

  3. I loved you ideas .I think they are marvolous . I’ve tried in my life not to stand still and always go further.even though ther are always problems.thank you

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