Teaching Tips

Thinking of Becoming a Teacher?

Thinking of Becoming a Teacher?

Being a teacher is a thankless, selfless, rewarding job that isn’t for the weak. The truth is, teaching is not a fallback career. It isn’t something anyone should choose when they’re unsure of what they want to do with their life.

It’s been said, “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” I like to think that it’s more like, “Those who can’t teach, do.”

Most daily tasks can be done mindlessly without a second thought. You wake up and get out of bed. You take a shower. You drive to work. You drink when you’re thirsty and eat when you’re hungry. These are routine daily events that don’t take much concentration. But what if someone asked you how to do your daily routine?

That’s essentially what teachers do all day long. They take a task and break it down into small elements to explain. From walking to talking to tying your shoe—there isn’t anything in life that you learned without being taught. Parents invest in teaching their children these things because they care about their well-being. Likewise, teachers have a deep desire to help.

If you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, consider these points before investing in your training and possible career switch.

  • You don’t have to be an expert in that field. I know lots of individuals who would be fabulous teachers and they don’t do it because they feel they aren’t experts. You don’t have to be. Being an expert isn’t a requirement for being a teacher. You’ll learn things as you go along (we all do!).
  • Money should not be a motivation. Teachers are underpaid—we all know that. But even if a teacher’s salary is desirable to you, it should not be your motivation. You need to be dedicated to the job and invested in your students—not a paycheck.
  • Patience is a virtue. Teaching is not for the quick-tempered or impatient. It takes time and energy to invest in people.
  • Know when to get out. I am against anyone doing anything in life that makes him or her miserable. Teaching is a job that affects too many people. Don’t damage your students if you’re better off in a different career.
  • Would you want yourself as a teacher? This is the most important question every aspiring and existing educator needs to ask themselves. If you can’t honestly say yes, you need to find a different career path.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of an educator!

Continuing Education for Educators: What To Look For

Continuing Education for Educators: What To Look For

If you buy a car, no matter how much you pay or what that car is worth, it requires maintenance. It’ll lose its value and break down if you don’t get your car serviced every few thousand miles. That’s exactly what happens to teachers.

The world keeps turning and things evolve—and so should our teaching. As new generations sit in our desks and young minds ask different questions, our education needs to evolve. This is why continuing education is so important for teachers. Don’t get replaced like an old car—be a classic. Be innovative and stay current.

Most states or schools will require teachers to renew their license every few years and show annual continuing education credits. But I’m afraid this requirement often leads to teachers hitting a button to clock hours instead of finding thought-provoking material that will make them better educators.

Here’s what to look for when seeking continuing education:

■ Find a visionary. Someone who knows the newest and greatest ways to reach the youngest generation of students has the greatest value in the classroom today. Increase your own value by learning from a visionary.

■ Delivery is key. Methodology classes are great for educators, but, more specifically, any class that focuses on how to deliver is even better. When we repeat the same material year after year, we get stale. Classes on delivery will help you change up your style and energy.

■ In-person training is best. It’s not that I’m completely against online classes, but they need to be good courses. Your motivation has to be right. You have to want to do it and it can’t be because it’s easy. The human element of in-person training is an unmatched atmosphere.

■ Networking opportunities. Find continuing education settings that allow you to network with other educators from across the country or your state. It’s nice to know you’re not on an island and it also allows you to learn best practices from other educators like you.


If you’re looking for continuing education, please check out my upcoming speaking gigs. Never underestimate the power of an educator!

Teaching to Generation Z

Teaching to Generation Z

Generation Z includes anyone born after 2000. Although they haven’t been around long and we’re still learning how this generation acts as a whole, they’re developing common traits. Generation Z is who the majority of our students will be in the next few years, so as educators we need to be prepared how to teach them.

I also should mention that as our nation becomes more politically correct, what once was accepted (or was even flirting with inappropriate) is NOT tolerated with this generation. Meaning, if you say something wrong in the classroom, they’ll tweet it and you’ll be fired. Gone are the days of second chances and sorrowful apologies.

In 2006, there were a record number of births in the US and 49% of those born were Hispanic. Since the early 1700’s, the most common last name in the US was Smith. Today it’s Rodriguez. This means that racist, generalized comments like, “This is America, learn English,” will get you in all sorts of trouble. You need to understand the “melting pot” that Generation Z is and you need to ensure that your teaching is inclusive and kind.

I have a lot more material that I cover in my full Generational Teaching program, but here’s a quick breakdown of common characteristics and how to deal with challenging situations.



  • Technology isn’t technology to them (because they’ve always had it)
  • Every kid gets a trophy in their little league games
  • More entrepreneurial – all want to own a business
  • Prefers to meet with managers in person
  • Values honesty more than any other characteristic
  • Wants to be part of the conversation, decision making and they want to change the world.
  • Short attention span
  • Learn by being entertained
  • Constantly stimulated by screens


CHALLENGE: Attention span is eight seconds.

WHAT TO DO: Dynamic openers are crucial.


CHALLENGE: Really high (and sometimes unrealistic) expectations (i.e. own a business and change the world)

WHAT TO DO: Show them the means to the end. Give them realistic expectations while encouraging that that’s a great END result.


CHALLENGE: Everyone gets a trophy, leading to entitled students who think they always deserve an award.

WHAT TO DO: Verbal praise. Find a cheap item (ribbons, etc.), reward system.


CHALLENGE: Honesty is everything.

WHAT TO DO: Be honest ALL the time. You can’t give them fluff responses or encouraging words that are empty.


Never underestimate the power of an educator!

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Teaching to Generation Y/Millennials

Teaching to Generation Y/Millennials

Generation Y (aka Millennials) are born between 1981 – 2000. They’re those cocky kids who “know everything” and are becoming CEO’s of large corporations in their 20s. These kids hit the jackpot of being born at a time when technology was on the rise and they were quick adapters.

But at the same time, this has hurt many of them. It’s not uncommon for Millennials to still be living at home with mom and dad, refuse to work an eight hour day or have a new job every other year. In fact, most don’t hold down the same job for more than three years.

While they’re out there searching for the meaning of life and happiness, many are heading back to school or getting a late start in college compared to the old traditional way of attending right out of high school. I have a lot more material that I cover in my full Generational Teaching program, but here’s a quick breakdown of common characteristics of Millennials and how to deal with challenging situations.



  • Pros at multitasking
  • Very goal oriented
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Know how to balance work and home life
  • Participative
  • Good with technology
  • Whenever they want it—want it at the push of a button
  • Want work to be meaningful
  • WILL graduate


CHALLENGE: Can’t focus on one project at a time

WHAT TO DO:  Move at a faster pace. Keep lectures short and do hands-on classes. Create balance by changing things up. Add video, add music, create a sense that your class is spontaneous.


CHALLENGE: On their phones, on the internet

WHAT TO DO: Let them. I have rules for cell phones in the classroom, though.


CHALLENGE: Zero patience. They want it now.

WHAT TO DO: Spit it out; get to your point quickly. Facts first. They don’t need a story. That’s why they love texts. Get to the point!


CHALLENGE: They want everything to be meaningful. (They all want to change the world.)

WHAT TO DO: Remind them of the big picture. Not every single thing will be meaningful, but it will lead to something bigger one day.


Never underestimate the power of an educator!

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Teaching to Generation X

Teaching to Generation X

Generation X includes those born between 1965 – 1980. They’re often called the “Lost” or “Forgotten” Generation because they’re sandwiched in between two of the largest generations (Baby Boomers and Millennials) in American history. As Milliennials in the workplace become more successful, Generation X often feels inadequate and they’re trying to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century workplace environment.

They’re not completely behind on technology, but they’re not quick to embrace new technology either. For them, success is measured by the money in their bank account and they often struggle to find the workplace/home life balance.

These students are filling up post-secondary classes around the nation as they better fit the description of adult/non-traditional students. I have a lot more material that I cover in my full Generational Teaching program, but here’s a quick breakdown of common characteristics of Generation X and how to deal with challenging situations.



  • Self-reliant
  • Skeptical
  • Wants structure and direction
  • Ask why a lot and challenge people
  • Individual – prefers to work alone (Entrepreneurs)
  • Direct and immediate communication
  • Need continual feedback
  • KNOWS they’ll graduate


CHALLENGE: Skeptical

WHAT TO DO: Know your stuff. Be prepared for their questions and anticipate what they might ask or question.


CHALLENGE: Self-reliant; would rather work alone

WHAT TO DO: Put them in a group, giving them their own task to own in that group.


CHALLENGE: Need continual feedback

WHAT TO DO: Offer it more often! Correct them on the spot with tactfulness.


CHALLENGE: Need to know everything immediately with a fear of missing something or getting left behind

WHAT TO DO: Create a syllabus, stick to a calendar with soft and hard deadlines, etc. Make sure your communication is clear if something changes.


CHALLENGE: Crave structure and direction

WHAT TO DO: Remove clutter, have clear expectations, allow them to sit in the same seat everyday, don’t throw them curve balls.


Never underestimate the power of an educator!

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