Under Pressure: Gaining Perspective from the Experiences & Advice of Others

By Maureen Look-Ainsworth —  In many ways, teachers perform under pressure. We are called to read and study for class, prepare papers and often teach throughout this process. It is a difficult task to perform in everyday life, even more difficult to manage family, children and all of the above.

In a pressured situation, I find solace in reading books that give me ideas, provoke food for thought, and give me inspiration, and ideas from other exemplary educators. As educators, we read a lot. We seek answers to just about everything we can!

I would highly recommend the following books for both the new or experienced teacher. These books have the potential to springboard personal learning into greater depths and offer new perspectives on the teaching profession.

The Third Teacher (2011), gives teachers inspiration to understand how the environment presents “challenges and opportunities” beyond what we can think or imagine today. Do you desire to help the next generation to survive or thrive in an environment that will demand imagination, creativity, critical thinking skills, the ability to take risks and the need for educators to think of what tomorrow will look like and help those who will graduate from high school in the year 2025? Look at this book to gain insight into statistics, facts, interviews and anecdotes from a variety of venues.

Teach Like a Champion: 49 Techniques that put students on the path to college (2010) written by Doug Lemov, endeavors to show the essential techniques of teaching and helping students get the most out of reading in critical skills. A DVD is included that highlights and utilizes the experience of 25 master educators that employ their skill in showing lessons that have been proven useful in this data driven culture.  The essential skills in this book seem “mundane and unremarkable” but they are “intellectually startling” in the delivery of material and content. This book is a quick, fantastic read that I wish I would have read years ago when I first began teaching.

Rocket Boys written by Homer Hickam is an inspirational book that is the platform upon which the movie October Sky is based. Homer Hickam writes about his life as a boy living in a coal town in Virginia.  Like many in his town, he was expected to become just what his father was, a coal miner. Yet, Homer saw through the difficulties in life and stretched himself to envision a landscape of opportunity for both himself and his friends.  Homer writes from a perspective to which even today’s students can relate.  We all have challenges that must be overcome in order to succeed in an ever-changing world. The book is a must read, and October Sky, the movie based on the novel, is a must see.

Today,  Homer Hickam, writer and NASA engineer, is an motivation to us all to become more than we thought we ever could become. Instead of believing you are just going to be a teacher, see yourself as a world shaker, as a people motivator, as a flash that ignites fire under the lives of those you teach.

The picture above is of Homer Hickam and myself.  When we met, he wrote in my book:

To all the Wisconsin teachers, you are my Heroes! I encourage to forge ahead and continue in this profession and you will see just what you were meant to become, a great facilitator, a great teacher, a great human being leading others to do just the same!

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