Great Teacher’s Conference Book Discussion

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On 11/10/18 at 8:55am, I attended the Great Teacher’s Conference after-lunch session at the Rizzo Center in Chapel Hill, NC presented by Alison Consol of Wake Technical Community College.

Get In The Mood

We started the session off with a stretching session and some breathing and visaullization exercises. This was great.  🙂

Phase One: Book Discussions

Phase one started on a brief discussion regarding the books we’ve brought. I thought this was great, because I had only had a chance to look at three of the books, and once while I was taking some notes on one, I had to hustle to the next meeting, so it was nice to have some show and tell.

We were asked to discuss the books and why we brought them, specifically, what someone could find from that material.

Option B by Sheryl Sandburg and Adam Grant was the first book discussed, so I’ll give it a little bit of extra space and wording for being first. It gave plenty of options on how to talk to someone who is having a hard time and talk to someone who’s going though a traumatic event. This can be very useful to teachers who are also advisors. For example: What basic things can you say or do to lead them through their troubles or encourage them to seek counsellors if needed?

At this point, we discussed several great books, and quite a few stood out.

1,001 Great Thoughts On Teaching- This was a book that one teacher kept in their work area, and on “down” days, she used 1-2 to get herself up for the classroom.

How the Brain Works- studies and practical suggestions on how to approach the classroom to help students drink in the materials and retain it. The teacher mentioned that they used this to double-check themselves with new material: AM I being realistic? How can they use the time?

Teaching STEM- The point of a great teacher is not to lift the D and F students, it is to convert the C students to B and A students. You will always have D and F students. Studies inside this book were very helpful. Learning off a screen for students was deeply preferred, but written materials are retained more readily. Writing is more important than typing.

Six Easy Pieces- by Richard Feynman. It teaches physics easily without watering down the content.

The English Book- This was a nice amalgam book, with teachers from across the country each showcasing their compositions and describes their lessons as well as how it was approached in literature. As it was described by the teacher: “We are all taught english, but we are expected to know how to teach items in practice while focusing on the mechanics of the situation. Everyone communicates if you connect- direct connection to why the world needs to communicate. IF they are quiet, nothing good comes in the teaching environment, especially speaking between the lines- they may not ask the right questions because the quiestion could be “not right” and pares down the fluff of the questions and pieces how to get directly involved with communications.”

How To Be A Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul- This book was one I brought. It had sections from different famous graphic designers that talked about how important it was to bring the important things into account when discussing your job in the workplace. It isn’t all about the money, it can’t be, or you’ll leave everything you value behind.

Before Phase two, we noted that the classes were funded by whiting turner. We were told if we’d like, we can write letters, and we’ll have them delivered together. Or we can think on it for a while, and have the materials delivered at a later date.

Phase Two: Discussing Our Problems

Phase two was talking about our solutions. Just to reiterate Our rules:

  1. Define the problem briefly.
  2. Do not justify it. If its a problem, its legit.
  3. No problem can be solved with the thinking that created it.
  4. If it is said here, it needs to stay here.
  5. Define what cannot be changed.
  6. Reality is real. We are here to solve some problems, but not all problems should be solved. THink about the problem with the priest, drunkard, and engineer.

    A priest, a drunkard, and an engineer are taken to the guillotine…

    On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the midst of the French Revolution the revolting citizens led a priest, a drunkard and an engineer to the guillotine. They ask the priest if he wants to face up or down when he meets his fate. The priest says he would like to face up so he will be looking towards heaven when he dies. They raise the blade of the guillotine and release it. It comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from his neck. The authorities take this as divine intervention and release the priest.

    The drunkard comes to the guillotine next. He also decides to die face up, hoping that he will be as fortunate as the priest. They raise the blade of the guillotine and release it. It comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from his neck. Again, the authorities take this as a sign of divine intervention, and they release the drunkard as well.

    Next is the engineer. He, too, decides to die facing up. As they slowly raise the blade of the guillotine, the engineer suddenly says, “Hey, I see what your problem is …”


We’ll use the same format as before, and continuing around in a circle, responding more than once if time allows. We use the same rules with whining, griping, and telling war stories. Add to this that all parties are involved, but we should keep the arguments from back and forth between 2 parties.

This part of the process is really covered by part 4 in our discussion rules: If it is said here, it needs to stay here. I won’t be writing any of these issues or solutions down…