Dare to Be Exceptional By Maggie Dent

“The legacy of a teacher lasts a lifetime.”
Unfortunately this well-known adage works both ways and the legacy of a toxic or incompetent
teacher lasts just as long as that of an exceptional teacher.
Exceptional teachers realise that every student matters, no matter what. They look for the hidden
potential in every student, and they understand what is going on in their students’ brains, and that
everyone in their class (including the teacher) is moving through emotional states all day long. They
also know how to cultivate optimum states in their classrooms, for themselves and their students.
Six Keys to Exceptional Teaching
1. Be interesting
2. Help students to find their strengths and talents
3. Teach them how the brain works
4. Practise “kaizen”
5. Have the courage to care and connect
6. Believe in the highest potential for yourself and your students.
The brain is the key.
Norman Doidge’s book The Brain that Changes Itself explores the amazing plasticity of the brain and
every educator will find it enlightening and exciting.
You may also want to investigate the book, Brain Rules, in which developmental molecular biologist
and researcher John Medina writes about 12 things we know about how the brain works and how
these apply to our daily lives, especially at school and work.
Creating the optimum environment
Teachers who are aware of how to create optimal emotional states, whether intentionally or
unintentionally, will create environments in which students learn more effectively, and where they as
teachers are more satisfied.
Laugher and lightness help create positive emotional states. Music, positive welcoming rituals and
encouraging messages that come through students’ peripheral vision are also great ways to do this.
Teacher consistency and clear boundaries are also very helpful in managing emotional states. Only
by being in the right state yourself will you get the result you want in your class.
Activities that Can Create Serotonin and Other Wellbeing Chemicals