A question I need you to help me answer

I need your help, friends.

As a teacher, one of my primary goals is to prepare students for the real world. And because of that very important job, I have an even more important rule in my classroom.

Students can ALWAYS ask me WHY we are doing something.


And I am not allowed to be offended.

Now, I have taught them to do it in a way that is appropriate and elicits the kind of response they are looking for, but it holds me accountable!

Because let’s be honest, folks, if I can’t answer them, then I shouldn’t be teaching it.


End of story.

Education needs to be relevant. Students need to be able to ask WHY we’re doing something and HOW it applies to the real world.

With that being said, I’ve been polling several of my friends who are employed outside of education, asking them what skills they see as most important to their own jobs and/or careers. Many of these friends are CEOs and CFOs who run their own companies – and they are the ones doing the hiring. Some of them are business owners. Some of them just work really hard, but they know what qualities are valuable in a job candidate.

The answers I have been hearing are amazing, and they are helping me be a better teacher. In fact, I have always taught one of these characteristics, but because of my friend Larry, I felt direct affirmation about the relevancy of teaching that skill.

What is it, you ask?

Active listening.

I have literally begun teaching my students how to hold their bodies, direct their eyes, uncross their arms. Earlier this semester, our World Studies students took part in a round table discussion with staff and administrators concerning creativity in education. One of the chief practices we worked on weeks before that roundtable was the magic of active listening.

In  a world full of stuff that goes by FAST, we haven’t learned how to keep our attention on one thing for very long. But in an interview? You can’t just talk – you gotta listen. And listening is an art (there’s a whole blog post to be written here – we’ll save that one for later).

Another characteristic?

Problem solving.

My friend Ken talked about wanting employees who can, instead of bringing him the PROBLEM, bring him the SOLUTION – or even SOLUTIONSSSSSS! These are all qualities that I can easily incorporate into my English classroom while still teaching the standards, the curriculum, and the learning targets.

It takes a little work, but it’s worth it. I want my students to be prepared for the real world. I want them to feel like they didn’t just learn English, Math, History, and Science. I want them to feel like they learned RELEVANT life skills that prepared them to function successfully in the real world.

So, my question for you is this.

What characteristic do YOU think students need to prepare them for life? And if you could give me a little background, your job, where you work, and how you think it applies, that will help me as I continue to walk alongside these kids on their “adulting” journey.

It’s all about the relevancy, folks. And we need to learn from EACH OTHER. Isn’t that what life is all about?

Thanks in advance for your help!


Thanks for checking out my blog! I am a teacher, writer, cyclist, mom, and speaker who loves inspiring my readers, joy-choosing, and adventure seeking!  Please feel free to peruse my site and check out some of my other posts, including my viral post called “10 reasons you don’t need a boyfriend or girlfriend in high school“.

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