Marina Koestler Ruben

Blog Posts: February 2012

Recommended Read: "The End of Molasses Classes" by Ron Clark

In 2008, before the Obama v. McCain election, the rap video "You Can Vote However You Like" went viral.  The rappers?  A group of middle school students with a passion for politics.  The teacher?  Ron Clark, founder of the Ron Clark Academy and teacher extraordinare.

At the Ron Clark Academy, a twisty blue slide starts on the second story and spits riders onto the main floor lobby.  A large wheel "sorts" (inspired by the Hogwarts sorting hat) new students into four academic houses, as the entire school cheers.  Educators from across the globe attend RCA's teacher training sessions and can observe classes in session in a school where teaching is definitely a performance art.

Clark is the author of The Essential 55: An Award-Winning Educator's Rules for Discovering the Successful Student in Every Child (2003), The Excellent 11: Qualities Teachers and Parents Use to Motivate, Inspire, and Educate Children (2004), and, now, The End of Molasses Classes: Getting Our Kids Unstuck--101 Extraordinary Solutions for Parents and Teachers (2011).

Having just finished The End of Molasses Classes, I can say that it's an inspiring read for all educators, parents included.  And if you don't know something, don't worry:

Whenever I am talking with my students an they ask me a question I don't know the answer to, I will say, "Oooh, let's look that up!"  I act genuinely giddy at the prospect of finding out information that I don't know.

As parents and teachers, that level of interest and curiosity is important to show our children.

I admire Clark's passion and his emphasis on a student's holistic well-being.  He's clearly interested, above all, in helping students feel empowered and competent, with a "constant thirst for knowledge" and an appreciation for high standards, both academically and ethically.

Highly recommended. Read Full Post.