The $10,000 Challenge

MP900442286“If I chose one random student from your school and said “I’ll give you ten thousand dollars upon completion if you can get this kid to master this objective…”

1.  Do you believe you could do it, not matter the kid or the objective?

2.  What would you do to make it happen?

Unless the answer to both of these questions is, without hesitation, “Yes!” you are NOT an Edunator. You may be a passionate, gifted teacher. But you’re simply unwilling to accept responsibility for ALL students learning at a high level. Maybe you’re on the look out for excuses. Maybe you’re broken, beaten and scarred from years of abuse. Maybe you lack confidence or skills.


Maybe you don’t realize the awesome power you actually have as a classroom teacher.


Truth is, given that incentive of $10,000 most anybody with a heartbeat could accomplish this task given enough time. Certainly a passionate and skilled educator could achieve this given that sort of incentive. But can you do it without the a million pennies dangling like a carrot on a stick?


The better question is...How would you go about it?


 Would you….

  1. Define mastery?
  2. Define how long you had to achieve this objective?
  3. Learn the objective yourself as best as possible?
  4. Build a relationship with the student?
  5. Get to know his/her learning style?
  6. Pre-test?
  7. Give choices?
  8. Give instruction he or she likes?
  9. Formative assessment?
  10. Re-teaching using different techniques?


The hard truth is, if you’re not already doing all these things on a regular basis in your classroom then you’re NOT “Focused on Learning” and you are NOT an “Edunator”. But you can become one. These things are not strategies to be used occasionally and they're not "buzzwords" that administrators throw around willy-nilly. They're not a "sometimes" thing. To great teachers, they're "all the time" things, ingrained parts of the classroom culture. In the same way that rules and procedures are taught, so too should these things become embedded into the daily life of your student. 


If it seems overwhelming, let us help. 



While I have no intention of claiming this concept as my own, I openly admit I have no idea where I initially heard it. Although I’ve adapted it a bit, the original premise behind this question is not mine. I think I may have picked it during the PLC Summer Academy, through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Regional Professional Development Center.  Truth is, I may never know where I first heard it, and that’s ok. Regardless, it’s been a powerful reminder for me on a daily basis of what it really means to be a great teacher, or what “Becoming the Edunator” is really all about. If anybody can offer any evidence of it’s origin, I’ll gladly give full credit and amend my use of this work.