This page is a result of many years of talking with motivated, concerned teachers who worry about the effect on kids and school moral of teachers with negative approaches, mean and ornery personalities, and "burned out" mental states.

A Quiz

Directions:  Read the two items in each of the pairs below.  Select the one with which you most strongly agree.  Then indicate the strength of your agreement.  1 = agree somewhat, 2 = agree strongly, 3 = this item describes me perfectly (Don't worry about every word in the item, just go with "the tone" of the statement).

A.___In the teaching profession, it's about the kids.  My job is to turn out educated, well behaved kids, who feel valued by themselves and others.  I remember that I am here for and because of them.  All educational decisions I make are made with them in mind.
B.___I am the hammer and they are the nails.  I'll verbally or emotionally pound them into submission.

A.___I really listen to my kids just like I would like them to listen to me.
B.___I expect my kids to be attentive to my words.  Students should sit and be quiet.

A.___I consider whether my students' expressed concerns and suggestions are valid.  I try to include my pupils in the governance and running of the classroom.
B.___I tell my kids to stop complaining.  It's my way or the highway (the road down to the principal's office)

Preview This Clip Now!A.___I'm upbeat and enthusiastic when I teach.  If I want them to be excited about learning, I've got to be excited about teaching.  I try to create interesting lessons that are pertinent to my students' lives.
B.___I'm not going to jump through hoops to get these kids to learn.  They're supposed to do the work whether they like it or not.  How can someone be enthusiastic about this boring material?  You've got to stop pampering these kids.

A.___While staff development sessions aren't always the greatest, I show respect for the speaker and attempt to pick up some useful information.  I'll take back at least one idea that I can use.
B.___Staff development sessions provide a chance to read the newspaper, engage in knitting, grade papers, or talk with friends.

A.___It requires new skills and extra effort to include special ed kids, but hey...they're kids..the reason I went into teaching.  I'll do my best to help them to be successful.
B.___To hell with special ed and IEP recommendations.  I won't make accommodations for special ed students.  They don't belong with my kids.  If I have to take them into my classes, they will do the same work in the same way as everyone else.  It's only fair.  If they flunk, it's their fault, not mine.

A.___I understand that it takes time for our immigrant kids and (especially) their parents to learn English well.  I know that I certainly would have difficulties becoming fluent in Gaelic or Tagalog.  I understand that conversational English develops before academic English.  I repeat things in different ways, simplify language, use gestures, and have other kids translate.
B.___If those immigrant kids don't speak English, what do you want me to do?  Quit pampering them.  If they want to pass my class, they better learn English quick.

A.___I understand the need to make kids feel valued.  I know that cultural celebrations help kids from various groups to feel that their background is respected, valued, and honored.  That makes school a more positive and welcoming place for them.
B.___Why the heck do we celebrate Chinese holidays for all the Chinese kids in our school?  Why do we celebrate Hispanic heritage month when there are so many Spanish speaking kids?  They already know this stuff.  I'll be damned if I'm gonna celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  They're in America (or elsewhere) now damn it!

A.___I see teaching as a noble profession.  I continually learn new things that make me a better teacher.  I continue to learn via personal study, attentiveness at staff development sessions, or enrollment in college classes.  I check out web sites (like  I still plan on reaching the master teacher stage.

B.___The highlight of my teaching career was filling out the application form.  I gave up learning when I went into teaching.

A.___I make visiting parents feel welcomed and respected.  We work as a team to help their children.
B.___I tell it like it is.  You have to be blunt to get through to these people.  They have to get on their kids' backs and make them work and behave.

A.___I serve as a good role model for my students.  I talk politely, treat them respectfully, and display the behaviors I want them to show.
B.___Don't tell me how to treat kids or I'll file a union grievance.

A.___I hate faculty meetings as much as the next person, but some things need to be discussed with our colleagues and supervisors.  I try to offer useful information and ideas.  I am respectful of other views while promoting my own.
B.___I talk to colleagues during faculty meetings.  If I do speak up, it's mostly to complain/bitch (blaming others without searching for or accepting solutions).  When my ideas fail to get the support of others or are voted down, I continue to whine.  I don't care about lowering school's all about me.

A.___I realize that kids sometimes have familial, social, economic, and other variables in their lives that they did not choose.  I realize that they require additional patience, understanding, instruction, time, or support.
B.___I use children's personal lives as fodder for lunchtime gossip and a rationale for poor performance that doubles as an exemption from providing additional instruction and/or getting up from the desk to interact with anything beyond the coffeemaker, a cell phone or a partner teacher. (Thanks to Rachel Malick for this pair)

-Award yourself 1-3 professional points for marking agreement with each of the "A" answers.
- Subtract 1-3 professional points for agreement with each of the "B" answers.
-Work toward a perfect positive  score.

Beware of the dark side. Don't become what you detest in others.

Suggestions for attaining that perfect score:
1. Conduct self study in your weak areas.  Learn about what you don't yet know.
2. Enroll in college classes to learn new things or gain a new certification.
3. Read every link on Dr. Mac's web site.  Give the various techniques a try.
4. Vow to change.  Get a partner to help you.  Develop a positive support system.
5. Catch yourself when your words or tone are rude, condescending, or uncaring.  Immediately restate those words in a way that expresses concern and compassion. Check out the webinar on effective positive phrasing at:
6. Don't complain unless you are seeking solutions to the problem.
7. Visit excellent teachers and borrow ideas/activities/techniques from them.

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Author: Tom McIntyre,