In this feel-good guide to great teaching, Adam Prociv, a seasoned pre-school and elementary educator from Australia, celebrates the power of positive thinking and the conviction that powerful teaching is “all just a matter of mindset.”
Great teachers, Prociv posits, connect their personal positive energy with students in order to tap their potential and bring out their best. By “maintaining a constant state of reflection and critical thinking…” along with faith that divine guidance is at work in the universe, teachers build self-confidence as professionals, and student self-belief blossoms.
The “legendary teacher” for Prociv is independent, possesses a healthy capacity for self-forgiveness, and is willing to evolve. They are givers, connect to the greater community, have plenty of grit, and attain longevity. Most significantly, teachers of legend understand that “…the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.”
Prociv’s focus on positive thinking is pronounced. His Dale Carnegie-esque approach is supported by references to many self-improvement books from gurus of previous decades, such as Tony Robbins and Wayne Dyer. The Bible is quoted liberally. Only two education books (on discipline) are referenced.
As such, it offers little in the way of concrete, classroom “how to” tools here. The chapter on Tools of the Trade, for example, recommends sleep, proper hydration, journal-keeping, and meditation. Rather, this is a coach’s pre-game motivational locker room speech. Australian schools are the context, so U.S. readers may detect subtle, though not significant differences.
Prociv paints a broad brushstroke for would-be teachers. While he convincingly presents the idea that learning (self-knowledge) must first take place within the teacher, his prescription for teacher excellence focuses on personality and attitude rather than teaching techniques (best practices, curriculum design, etc.).
Some will no doubt feel Prociv’s ideas are simplistic, given the challenges involved in successfully navigating the classroom. Surely many teachers with positive mindsets have faltered. But his optimism offers an upbeat invitation to the profession.
Also available as an ebook.