We all have those memorable educators in our experience we will never forget. It may have been their work ethic, ingenuity, enthusiasm, love for the profession or countless other characteristics describing a great teacher. I may not know Todd Nesloney or Adam Welcome personally, but after reading Kids Deserve It, I feel like I do, and I have added them to my list of “memorable educators.” Their inviting, personal style of writing is something one must investigate in order to understand “the buzz” about their book (just check out the Twitter hashtag #KidsDeserveIt – it is practically a movement).
Kids Deserve It is for the educator who wonders if there is more to education than just the drill and kill approach to learning. It is for the tired educator who is not quite sure why they got into teaching in the first place, who is not quite sure how they are going to get through this week, let alone finish the school year. Kids Deserve It is for the educator who is on the brink of taking a big risk in their classroom but are just not sure if they should. As Nesloney and Welcome state, “That’s not thriving; it’s barely surviving.” I believe most people enter the teaching profession with great altruism and a desire to lead young people into productive, fulfilling lives. Yet teachers face years of pressure for students to perform and achieve more, the stress of creating an environment where every single one of our students can flourish, and expectations from parents, administration and the state that seem near impossible.
This book is for the teacher who wants to engage and excite their students in order to maximize their learning potential. The authors’ stories of classroom and school success are not unattainable mountains of teaching perfection. Their success stories start with just one teacher move that sparked another move that sparked another. Pretty soon there was a fire of learning that at times took on a personality of itself. In teaching, we need those moments, not just for our students, but for us. Without energy and passion, our school day is bleak and boring. No one deserves that and especially not our students!
I previously stated that the ideas of Kids Deserve It have created “practically a movement.” Correction: it is a movement. This book has created a movement of teachers who not only remember why they joined the profession in the first place but also know that they can choose to go to school every morning with some of the same joy and enthusiasm they had their first year of teaching. Isn’t that something that all of us need right now?
Jessica Carlson is an instructional coach at Garrett Middle School in northern Indiana. She is also an adjunct professor at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Follow Jessica on Twitter @carlsjm.