Steve Heisler

Teacher Author Speaker


"Every single child wants to be successful. The problem is, if they can't be successful at being successful, they'll be successful at screwing up. Our job as educators is to change the latter to the former."    

- from the The Missing Link by Steve Heisler

New Students in the Same Old School

As teachers our role is to help all students learn, not just those few who key into our particular teaching styles or our personal concepts of what qualifies a student (and a student’s dream) of being “worthy.”  To do this we must also learn how to be successful with students who come to school not fully capable of being successful. To be effective as a teacher in the United States today, and to be effective in teaching critical success skills (such as self-regulation and persistance) in particular, teachers and administrators will need to rethink long established roles.

The role of teachers who wish to help students truly find their way must get the hell out of the judgment business and get the hell into the facilitation business, pure and simple. The function of a modern teacher in our very changed society demands this “coaching” approach to engender student engagement and success. Kids are different today and trying to teach them with the system that worked in the past simply no longer works.

 Our job as professionals is very clear: stop whining about how kids have changed and start changing to meet the needs of our kids. The essence of being professionals means that we can change, embrace new technologies and new relationships, while still maintaining the core values of highly effective teaching. The meet the new dynamics and new skills we need merely to move from a structure dominated by our intentions, to a structure driven by student intention.  

As we move forward, we will begin learn how to apply this changed way of interacting with students.  In such a facilitative structure these critical success skills (which include developing key pro-social skills, time management, decision making and organization in addition to the two noted previously)  can be employed as a teaching/school management toolsAs students embrace and internalize these practices, it can work to dynamically to change the way students feel about themselves and their potential and allow them to take better, more positive command of their learning and their own lives.