Tag: reading



The answer to the question seems obvious, don’t you think? Of course, educators should be lifelong learners. 



But I recently heard an education leader give a presentation where he made a claim that expecting educators to be lifelong learners, at least in the sense of attending PD or reading on their own time, was unrealistic. 



Basically, he suggested that nobody has time for that. There are too many demands on teachers as it is. I found it interesting that in spite of his claim, he also shared he is currently writing a book for educators.



He suggested the best way for professional educators to learn was through experience and by reflecting on experience with others. And I agree, that is one way to learn.



He added that when he interviewed for open positions and candidates shared about being lifelong learners, that he didn’t believe it for a minute. The universities are simply coaching their pre-service teachers on keywords they need to use in interviews.



My thinking is quite different on this issue. A big problem I see in schools is that too few are making time for their own professional reading and growth. Most people become satisfied with a certain level of effectiveness in their life, work, relationships, etc. and then hit cruise control. They don’t continue to push the limits of their own possibilities.



But that’s not the way strive for your potential, and it’s not the way to become the most effective, fulfilled educator you can be.



So here are some of my thoughts about continuous learning for educators…



1. The quickest way to improve a school is for the people inside the school to work on improving themselves. When you individually learn more as an educator, your students win, and your whole school wins too. You make your school stronger by your growth.



2. People who don’t make time for reading and growing will never break through their current capacity. They may get a little better, but they won’t experience new levels of capacity. They won’t have breakthroughs



Why? Because they are limited to their own perspective. As John Maxwell said, “Some of my best thinking is done by others.” I learn so much from what some of the leading thinkers are writing and sharing.



3. I suggest the 5-hour-rule as a great way to learn and grow. Spend at least 5 hours per week reading to build your capacity. Many of the world’s busiest and most successful people are consistent readers. 



4. The most common excuse for not reading is not having enough time. But we make time for what’s important. We all have the same number of hours in the day. And I’m wondering if most of the same people complaining about not having enough time are finding plenty of time for Netflix, YouTube, and Facebook?



5. Seth Godin suggests the more professional your field, the more important it is to stay current. If we seek to raise the standing of education as a top profession, we need to strive to learn like other top professions.



6. You wouldn’t want a surgeon operating on you who hasn’t read the latest journals about the procedures he’s performing. You want the best techniques. And your students deserve the best techniques too.



7. One of the best ways to carve our time for reading is to make it part of your morning routine. When you start the day focused on your own growth, you’ll be better able to help your students with their growth.



Are you making time for your reading and growth? How do you find the time? Do you believe educators should be lifelong learners? I want to hear from you. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Should All Educators Be Lifelong Learners?

My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s. The condition began about ten years ago when we thought she was simply becoming more forgetful. But as her short-term memory declined, we realized she wasn’t just suffering from old age. Over the years, she has lost the ability to recognize her own children and grandchildren, and she forgets whether or […]

Read More PMP:114 Reflections on Your Learning: What’s on Your Playlist?

My mother-in-law has Alzheimer’s. The condition began about ten years ago when we thought she was simply becoming more forgetful. But as her short-term memory declined, we realized she wasn’t just suffering from old age. Over the years, she has lost the ability to recognize her own children and grandchildren, and she forgets whether or […]

Read More PMP:114 Reflections on Your Learning: What’s on Your Playlist?

We all know that it takes a partnership between home and school to foster the kind of connections and growth we strive for as educators. When you have those kinds of quality relationships, it opens the door for parents to support the academic standards…

Read More Involving Parents in your Academic Standard





In 1993, famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano gave an inspiring and hopeful message at the ESPY awards. Valvano was fighting terminal cancer that would soon cut short his remarkable life. I occasionally watch the speech over again. It reminds me of what’s most important.



During his passionate speech, Valvano helped put everything in perspective:

“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. And if you do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

I invite you to take a few seconds to listen to Jimmy V speak these words in the video below.

So how can this apply to what we do as educators? Well, I think a great day at school includes the same things. We should laugh, we should certainly think, and we should also cry. 



I’m guessing that crying is harder for most of us to think about. We tend to think of some emotions as good or bad. We tend to hide those emotions that are sad or might be considered weak.



But emotions are an important way for us to connect. It’s how we better understand ourselves and others. Emotions help us to reach the heart and not just the mind.



We know that stories are powerful for learning. I think that’s because of how stories connect to emotions. You can talk about ideas all day, and I might be interested and even learn something. But if you connect those ideas with a story, and you touch my emotions, I may never forget what I’ve learned.



I remember one day years ago I was teaching freshmen English. It was one of those days when for whatever reason, I had a class period that was ahead of the others, and I needed to fill some time.



I decided to read a short story, The Scarlet Ibis, to the class. It was the first time I’d ever read the story myself, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.



But as I read, I was drawn into the story in a powerful way. No doubt the class could sense my quivering voice, my efforts to fight back tears, and my unsettled body language. As they saw how the story was connecting with my heart, they too were drawn in. You could’ve heard a pin drop.



The story is about two brothers. The younger brother is born with health problems, and he was never able to keep up with his athletic older brother. At times, the older brother is cruel and ashamed of his handicapped sibling. At one point, he even thinks of smothering the little brother with a pillow.



But he also demonstrates his love for him. He nicknames the younger brother Doodle and decides to teach him the things he will need to be ready for school, how to run, swim, climb trees, and fight. You know, the important stuff.



But the Saturday before school starts, the older brother pushes Doodle to physical exhaustion while rowing a boat. And then a storm blows in suddenly. The older brother runs ahead angry with Doodle for not keeping up so they can get out of the rain.



But when the older brother’s anger calms, he notices Doodle is missing. He goes looking for him and finds him curled up under a bush with his head on his knees. He is bleeding from his mouth. He is dead.



It’s a tragic ending.



I remember talking with the class about how the two boys reminded me of my own sons. Both of my boys are perfectly healthy. But there was something about the way the brothers interacted that reminded me of my own sons.



I also remember talking to them about empathy and cruelty. How most of us have it in us to be cruel. How we can fail to understand what someone else is going through. How selfish we can be.



I know without a doubt, even many years later, during that class period, there was laughter, there was thinking, and there were definitely tears. I think every student in the class felt something special that day.



So what does a perfect day in the classroom look like? 100% mastery of the objective for the day?



For me, I think a great day is when students are learning the objective, and the learning is also connecting with the heart. I’m not sure who said it, but I believe it’s true, “Information without emotion is rarely retained.” The lessons that stay with us the longest connect to our emotions.



Are you teaching with heart? Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook

Read More Information Without Emotion Is Rarely Retained





In 1993, famed college basketball coach Jim Valvano gave an inspiring and hopeful message at the ESPY awards. Valvano was fighting terminal cancer that would soon cut short his remarkable life. I occasionally watch the speech over again. It reminds me of what’s most important.



During his passionate speech, Valvano helped put everything in perspective:

“If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. And if you do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

I invite you to take a few seconds to listen to Jimmy V speak these words in the video below.

So how can this apply to what we do as educators? Well, I think a great day at school includes the same things. We should laugh, we should certainly think, and we should also cry. 



I’m guessing that crying is harder for most of us to think about. We tend to think of some emotions as good or bad. We tend to hide those emotions that are sad or might be considered weak.



But emotions are an important way for us to connect. It’s how we better understand ourselves and others. Emotions help us to reach the heart and not just the mind.



We know that stories are powerful for learning. I think that’s because of how stories connect to emotions. You can talk about ideas all day, and I might be interested and even learn something. But if you connect those ideas with a story, and you touch my emotions, I may never forget what I’ve learned.



I remember one day years ago I was teaching freshmen English. It was one of those days when for whatever reason, I had a class period that was ahead of the others, and I needed to fill some time.



I decided to read a short story, The Scarlet Ibis, to the class. It was the first time I’d ever read the story myself, so I didn’t know exactly what to expect.



But as I read, I was drawn into the story in a powerful way. No doubt the class could sense my quivering voice, my efforts to fight back tears, and my unsettled body language. As they saw how the story was connecting with my heart, they too were drawn in. You could’ve heard a pin drop.



The story is about two brothers. The younger brother is born with health problems, and he was never able to keep up with his athletic older brother. At times, the older brother is cruel and ashamed of his handicapped sibling. At one point, he even thinks of smothering the little brother with a pillow.



But he also demonstrates his love for him. He nicknames the younger brother Doodle and decides to teach him the things he will need to be ready for school, how to run, swim, climb trees, and fight. You know, the important stuff.



But the Saturday before school starts, the older brother pushes Doodle to physical exhaustion while rowing a boat. And then a storm blows in suddenly. The older brother runs ahead angry with Doodle for not keeping up so they can get out of the rain.



But when the older brother’s anger calms, he notices Doodle is missing. He goes looking for him and finds him curled up under a bush with his head on his knees. He is bleeding from his mouth. He is dead.



It’s a tragic ending.



I remember talking with the class about how the two boys reminded me of my own sons. Both of my boys are perfectly healthy. But there was something about the way the brothers interacted that reminded me of my own sons.



I also remember talking to them about empathy and cruelty. How most of us have it in us to be cruel. How we can fail to understand what someone else is going through. How selfish we can be.



I know without a doubt, even many years later, during that class period, there was laughter, there was thinking, and there were definitely tears. I think every student in the class felt something special that day.



So what does a perfect day in the classroom look like? 100% mastery of the objective for the day?



For me, I think a great day is when students are learning the objective, and the learning is also connecting with the heart. I’m not sure who said it, but I believe it’s true, “Information without emotion is rarely retained.” The lessons that stay with us the longest connect to our emotions.



Are you teaching with heart? Let me know what you think. Leave a comment below or respond on Twitter or Facebook

Read More Information Without Emotion Is Rarely Retained





I bet you are a fantastic problem solver. Most educators have developed this ability because problems come at you all day long. And you make hundreds of decisions from dawn till dusk.



Our time is a precious resource that can be extremely scarce because of all the demands we face. If we’re not careful, the tyranny of the urgent will consume us and may crowd out time for what’s most important.



Can we agree that the things that are most urgent are often not the most important? Reflect on your day. There were things you felt had to be done. But at what cost?



When you spend all your time dealing with urgent matters, not considering what things would have the highest leverage for success, you are simply spinning your wheels. Lots of activity not going anywhere.



Benjamin Franklin dedicated 5 hours of his week to learning. His personal growth and learning was a priority. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Oprah Winfrey also share this personal commitment to learn at least one hour a day and probably more.



You will never reach your growth potential if you are captive to the urgent.



We did a strengths finder with our staff about a year ago. It was a survey instrument that gave us feedback on our strength areas. We shared these out in a meeting and enjoyed reflecting on how our differences make us collectively strong.



But we all got a chuckle when I asked for teachers to raise their hands if love of learning (one of the characteristics) made their top five strengths. Surprisingly, in this sizable group of educators, only 2-3 teachers had it in their top five.



Of course, I think our teachers love learning. But I also wonder how much of a priority we are giving to our own growth and learning. I challenge you to spend at least 5 hours a week learning and see how it impacts your effectiveness.



For me, my learning each week involves reading, blogging, connecting with other educators on Twitter, and thinking and reflecting. 



Make time to support your own growth and learning and watch how it influences the learning and growth of your students.



The most successful people in the world are extremely busy and they are still finding time to read and learn consistently. Don’t let the urgent things rule over you. Take back what’s important and invest in your own growth.



How are you growing and making time for the 5-hour rule? What are you reading? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Don’t Let What’s Urgent Keep You From What’s Important





I bet you are a fantastic problem solver. Most educators have developed this ability because problems come at you all day long. And you make hundreds of decisions from dawn till dusk.



Our time is a precious resource that can be extremely scarce because of all the demands we face. If we’re not careful, the tyranny of the urgent will consume us and may crowd out time for what’s most important.



Can we agree that the things that are most urgent are often not the most important? Reflect on your day. There were things you felt had to be done. But at what cost?



When you spend all your time dealing with urgent matters, not considering what things would have the highest leverage for success, you are simply spinning your wheels. Lots of activity not going anywhere.



Benjamin Franklin dedicated 5 hours of his week to learning. His personal growth and learning was a priority. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and Oprah Winfrey also share this personal commitment to learn at least one hour a day and probably more.



You will never reach your growth potential if you are captive to the urgent.



We did a strengths finder with our staff about a year ago. It was a survey instrument that gave us feedback on our strength areas. We shared these out in a meeting and enjoyed reflecting on how our differences make us collectively strong.



But we all got a chuckle when I asked for teachers to raise their hands if love of learning (one of the characteristics) made their top five strengths. Surprisingly, in this sizable group of educators, only 2-3 teachers had it in their top five.



Of course, I think our teachers love learning. But I also wonder how much of a priority we are giving to our own growth and learning. I challenge you to spend at least 5 hours a week learning and see how it impacts your effectiveness.



For me, my learning each week involves reading, blogging, connecting with other educators on Twitter, and thinking and reflecting. 



Make time to support your own growth and learning and watch how it influences the learning and growth of your students.



The most successful people in the world are extremely busy and they are still finding time to read and learn consistently. Don’t let the urgent things rule over you. Take back what’s important and invest in your own growth.



How are you growing and making time for the 5-hour rule? What are you reading? Leave a comment below or share your thoughts on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Don’t Let What’s Urgent Keep You From What’s Important

I’m happy to announce the release of Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World! Back at the start of summer I made a public commitment that I would have this passion project finished before the start of the new school year (See: Do Something Today to Move In the Direction of Your Dreams).



Well, we’ve been in school for a couple of weeks now. So I didn’t exactly meet my own deadline. But hey, there are still many schools who haven’t returned from summer break yet, so technically maybe I did!



The book is now available on Amazon. And for a very limited time, the Kindle version of Future Driven will only be $2.99. I encourage you to download it now. 



Plus, through the end of September, I’m donating all of the proceeds from Future Driven to Care to Learn, an organization in our community that provides for the health, hunger, and hygiene needs of disadvantaged school-age children. It is important to me to give back to our students. It’s always about students first. I want to be part of creating a better future through better schools. It starts with us.



Care to Learn was started in Springfield, MO by philanthropist Doug Pitt. You might have heard of his brother, Brad. Yes, the same Hollywood Brad Pitt you see regularly in the grocery checkout line. The organization now has many chapters in our area, including here in Bolivar. 



Image may contain: one or more people, text and closeup


About half of our students are from low income households and qualify for free/reduced lunches. With Care to Learn, we are able to instantly meet the emergent health, hunger, and hygiene needs of our students. 



If a kid needs shoes, clothes, eyeglasses, groceries, etc., our counselors take him or her shopping and meet the need right away. We know it’s impossible for students to learn their best if they have unmet needs. We are so thankful for Care to Learn.



I certainly hope you find Future Driven inspiring and helpful. Your work matters. You are needed as a change maker. Just know that if you get your copy now, you’ll also be helping kids have what they need to learn. Your support of Care to Learn will make an impact too.



Let me know if you have any questions about Future Driven or my process of being an independent author. It has been an unbelievable adventure and so many have helped me along the way. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.



Be sure to the use the hashtag #FutureDriven as you share your passion for being a future-driven educator.

Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World?

In Future Driven, David Geurin describes how to conquer the status quo, create authentic learning, and help your students thrive in an unpredictable world. He shares how to simultaneously be more committed to your mission while being more flexible with your methods. You’ll discover strategies to …

Read More Future Driven: Looking Forward, Giving Back

I’m happy to announce the release of Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World! Back at the start of summer I made a public commitment that I would have this passion project finished before the start of the new school year (See: Do Something Today to Move In the Direction of Your Dreams).



Well, we’ve been in school for a couple of weeks now. So I didn’t exactly meet my own deadline. But hey, there are still many schools who haven’t returned from summer break yet, so technically maybe I did!



The book is now available on Amazon. And for a very limited time, the Kindle version of Future Driven will only be $2.99. I encourage you to download it now. 



Plus, through the end of September, I’m donating all of the proceeds from Future Driven to Care to Learn, an organization in our community that provides for the health, hunger, and hygiene needs of disadvantaged school-age children. It is important to me to give back to our students. It’s always about students first. I want to be part of creating a better future through better schools. It starts with us.



Care to Learn was started in Springfield, MO by philanthropist Doug Pitt. You might have heard of his brother, Brad. Yes, the same Hollywood Brad Pitt you see regularly in the grocery checkout line. The organization now has many chapters in our area, including here in Bolivar. 



Image may contain: one or more people, text and closeup


About half of our students are from low income households and qualify for free/reduced lunches. With Care to Learn, we are able to instantly meet the emergent health, hunger, and hygiene needs of our students. 



If a kid needs shoes, clothes, eyeglasses, groceries, etc., our counselors take him or her shopping and meet the need right away. We know it’s impossible for students to learn their best if they have unmet needs. We are so thankful for Care to Learn.



I certainly hope you find Future Driven inspiring and helpful. Your work matters. You are needed as a change maker. Just know that if you get your copy now, you’ll also be helping kids have what they need to learn. Your support of Care to Learn will make an impact too.



Let me know if you have any questions about Future Driven or my process of being an independent author. It has been an unbelievable adventure and so many have helped me along the way. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.



Be sure to the use the hashtag #FutureDriven as you share your passion for being a future-driven educator.

Future Driven: Will Your Students Thrive In An Unpredictable World?

In Future Driven, David Geurin describes how to conquer the status quo, create authentic learning, and help your students thrive in an unpredictable world. He shares how to simultaneously be more committed to your mission while being more flexible with your methods. You’ll discover strategies to …

Read More Future Driven: Looking Forward, Giving Back





Walt Disney was fired by his newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” 



Reportedly, Albert Einstein was told as a child, “You will never amount to anything!”



Beethoven’s music was not initially accepted by critics and one music teacher said, “as a composer, he is hopeless.”



You’ve heard stories like these of famous failures. We see the incredible achievements of their lives, but we often forget the struggles they most definitely faced. We all face struggles. Most every person can relate to withstanding a biting critique or unfair assessment. 



And when we hear these voices expressing doubts about us, our abilities, and even our intentions, it can cause us to doubt ourselves, our worth, and our purpose in this world.



But often the voice that is most damaging to our future is the voice within us. It’s our own shadow. We are often our own worst critics. Our internal voice says play it safe, don’t take any chances, just stay comfortable.



Our shadow makes us hesitate. It generates fear in us that is paralyzing. We retreat to the familiar, the routine, the mundane.



But don’t let your shadow steal your dream!



If you have a dream, don’t put it off. If you feel a push to do something, make it happen. As Henry David Thoreau urged, “advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Don’t wait.



The shadow’s push-back against your dreams will not relent unless you push-through and just go for it. Make something happen.



Over a year ago, I took the first step toward a dream I have of writing a book for educators. I wanted to write a book that would make a difference for classrooms and schools. I started. But then my own voice of discouragement slowed my progress. I was too busy (so I thought). My ideas were lacking (so I thought). I hesitated.



But I am determined to push through. I am determined to see this dream realized. Before I return to school in August, my new book will be published. My hope is that it will challenge and inspire educators to crush the status-quo so we can better prepare students for an unpredictable world. 




Cheesy photo to keep me focused!



I want to use my effort, enthusiasm, and experiences to strengthen our profession. I want to see stronger schools. I want to see more excitement for learning than ever before. I want to see students and teachers engaged and empowered by their school experience. That is my dream.



And I want the same for you. I want to see your talents and passions used to reach for your dreams. There will never be a perfect time. Your shadow always wants you to hesitate. Don’t listen to your internal critic. Do something today to move in the direction of your dreams.



A body in motion tends to stay in motion. And a body at rest tends to stay at rest. If you are going to fulfill your purpose in life, you have to step forward in faith. You have to take risks. You can’t play it safe. You have to take that first step now. 



As I make progress on finishing the book, I’ll share some updates here on my blog. I’ll give you a preview of the book and detailed plans for release. And I’ll also ask for your help in sharing the news in your circles. 



Press on toward your dreams! 



Question: What are you going to do this summer to move in the direction of your dreams? I want to hear from you. Share your story of overcoming your shadow. Let’s unleash our purpose and potential together. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Do Something Today to Move in the Direction of Your Dreams





Walt Disney was fired by his newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” 



Reportedly, Albert Einstein was told as a child, “You will never amount to anything!”



Beethoven’s music was not initially accepted by critics and one music teacher said, “as a composer, he is hopeless.”



You’ve heard stories like these of famous failures. We see the incredible achievements of their lives, but we often forget the struggles they most definitely faced. We all face struggles. Most every person can relate to withstanding a biting critique or unfair assessment. 



And when we hear these voices expressing doubts about us, our abilities, and even our intentions, it can cause us to doubt ourselves, our worth, and our purpose in this world.



But often the voice that is most damaging to our future is the voice within us. It’s our own shadow. We are often our own worst critics. Our internal voice says play it safe, don’t take any chances, just stay comfortable.



Our shadow makes us hesitate. It generates fear in us that is paralyzing. We retreat to the familiar, the routine, the mundane.



But don’t let your shadow steal your dream!



If you have a dream, don’t put it off. If you feel a push to do something, make it happen. As Henry David Thoreau urged, “advance confidently in the direction of your dreams.” Don’t wait.



The shadow’s push-back against your dreams will not relent unless you push-through and just go for it. Make something happen.



Over a year ago, I took the first step toward a dream I have of writing a book for educators. I wanted to write a book that would make a difference for classrooms and schools. I started. But then my own voice of discouragement slowed my progress. I was too busy (so I thought). My ideas were lacking (so I thought). I hesitated.



But I am determined to push through. I am determined to see this dream realized. Before I return to school in August, my new book will be published. My hope is that it will challenge and inspire educators to crush the status-quo so we can better prepare students for an unpredictable world. 




Cheesy photo to keep me focused!



I want to use my effort, enthusiasm, and experiences to strengthen our profession. I want to see stronger schools. I want to see more excitement for learning than ever before. I want to see students and teachers engaged and empowered by their school experience. That is my dream.



And I want the same for you. I want to see your talents and passions used to reach for your dreams. There will never be a perfect time. Your shadow always wants you to hesitate. Don’t listen to your internal critic. Do something today to move in the direction of your dreams.



A body in motion tends to stay in motion. And a body at rest tends to stay at rest. If you are going to fulfill your purpose in life, you have to step forward in faith. You have to take risks. You can’t play it safe. You have to take that first step now. 



As I make progress on finishing the book, I’ll share some updates here on my blog. I’ll give you a preview of the book and detailed plans for release. And I’ll also ask for your help in sharing the news in your circles. 



Press on toward your dreams! 



Question: What are you going to do this summer to move in the direction of your dreams? I want to hear from you. Share your story of overcoming your shadow. Let’s unleash our purpose and potential together. Leave a comment below or respond on Facebook or Twitter.

Read More Do Something Today to Move in the Direction of Your Dreams

At some point, as the adult in the room, we have to recognize that as long as students are reading and writing for a fabricated purpose, there is only so much energy and time that they will commit to the assignment. Churning out students who hate a sub…

Read More Why should reading and writing be authentic? #taketwo

I’ve mentioned before that one of the things I think that impacted my leadership last year was that I put all of the “me” things on the back burner, including my own growth as a leader. In years previous, I was very active on twitter leader chats, participating in conversations, I was more involved with my […]

Read More Ways to keep growing as a leader… #taketwo