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August 19, 2014

Tonight, I was Inspired by Ron Clark

Tonight, I finally met my online friend Julie from Plaisirs du primaire. Even though we live very close to each other, life has a knack for getting in the way and it has taken us a little over a year to get together.  We had a great dinner, then went to one of the most amazing conferences I’ve ever been too. We saw Ron Clark speak!  That’s right, Ron Clark, 2000 Disney Teacher of the Year winner.  Ron Clark, known for his ability to raise test scores by using fun, unique methods.  Ron Clark, who appeared twice on the Oprah Winfrey Show.  And the list goes on and on.  Yeah.  That guy!

He is one amazing person.  He has so much energy and is just hilarious!  My head is still spinning. In fact, I couldn’t sleep, so I’m writing this post instead.  One of the first things Ron told us was to teach your kids to love to learn and they will become lifelong learners.  Now, isn’t that what we all striven, for as teachers?  The question is always HOW DO WE DO IT?! 

Mr. Clark used a bus concept to explain to us how it’s important to get the right people moving in the right way.  Picture your school as a giant school bus, with holes in the floor so people can power it with their feet, just like the in the Flintstones.  Then, he described the four types of teachers.

 The runners are the ones who are at the front, who are powering the bus.  They push hard and want to go further, faster.  They have tons of ideas and are eager to share them.  They’re the ones who always have more to do, no matter what.  At this time of year, a runner’s classroom is never ready for the first day.  There’s always one more thing to do.  Runners take part in a ton of activities at school and want to do it all.  Runners are perfectionists and when they make mistakes, they’re usually doing too much at once.  Runners accept constructive criticism well and move on after they make a mistake. 

The joggers do a good jog and help.  They don’t do as much as the runners, but they like to think that they do.  They might try something new to them, but they like to see the runner do it first.

The walkers need help and coaxing, but can be good teachers none the less.  They like to do things the same way they’ve always done it and don’t like to change things around.

Finally, there are the riders.  They are the complete opposite of the runners.  They hold everyone back and they do the bare minimum.  They’re the ones who get defensive when offered constructive criticism and they tend to blame everyone else around them for their mistakes.

 Let me tell you, as he was describing these different types of teachers, I was laughing out loud because I could put faces and names to these categories!  I think this concept can also be applied to our students as well!  According to Mr. Clark, we need to fuel the runners in our classroom, and the rest will follow.  Aim high and expect great things from your students!  The more you expect out of them, the more you’ll get!  It makes sense, right?

The four big tips that he left us with were as follows:


1    Look at your students, don’t turn your back to them.  Listen and take an interest in them.  It is more important to teach the kids than it is to teach.
Stand with your FEET OPEN AND OUT

2     This stance throws energy out there, it shows confidence. Plus, it's easier to move this way!


      Be dynamic! Move your arms and hands when you teach.  Reach out there and grab your students'  attention! Maybe this is where being Francophone gives me a bit of an advantage... We talk A LOT with our hands. 


4    It may seem like a given, but smiling makes people happy.  Smile, and people will smile back at you.  Even if you’re having a bad day and just don’t feel like smiling, fake it until you feel it.  Happy teachers give out a positive energy, which then comes back to them through their students.

Finally, Mr. Clark gave us tons of great ideas to use in our own classroom.  But, you’ll have to watch his videos, read his books or see him in action for those, because I need to get to bed.

If you ever have the chance to see him speak, I highly recommend it.  His energy and his sense of humour are to be admired!

"Don't take the stairs, slide!" - Ron Clark

Visit my friend Julie on her new blog or in her Teachers Pay Teachers store!  She has a store filled with French and English products that are sure to interest you!


  1. Sounds like an amazing time! I am definitely going to see if he's speaking near me! Thanks!

    Linda (The Purple Teacher)

  2. What an inspiring video! Where did he speak? Toronto?
    Grade 4 Buzz

    1. Not in Toronto. My school board sponsored him to come to Sudbury! It's funny because he said that he's always said that he's from the middle of nowhere and now that he's been here, he knows that we own "the middle of nowhere" and he will never say it again! LOL I didn't think Sudbury was in the middle of nowhere! Thank goodness he hasn't seen where I grew up!!!!


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