Essential 55 + Excellent 11 = End of Molasses Classes…

It’s a known fact; I adore and deeply revere the teachings and writings of Ron Clark, master educator extraordinaire.  His message in each book is inspiring, yet he is equally quick to face the brutal facts (as we all should) no matter the situation.  He is all about leading each learner to greatness.

In The Essential 55, Mr. Clark showcases 55 key rules, all so simple and obvious yet equally powerful as life tools demonstrating exactly how each learner can become the best student and person imaginable.  He notes, “I tell my students all the time, a person can have the best education in the world, but it will mean nothing if that person doesn’t treat others with kindness, have respect for the individuals he or she comes in contact with, and attempt to use the knowledge and skills they have obtained to help others.”  From Rule #1, answering with “yes, ma’am or no sir,” to Rule #55, “Be the best person you can be,” the book talks about and walks through the important things in life.

While pondering The Excellent 11, Mr. Clark embraces the eleven qualities shared by children who love to learn; these same key elements are found in teachers and parents who know how to bring out the JOY of learning in any child.  He pinpoints what it takes to make a great learner by sharing eleven basic characteristics (enthusiasm, adventure, creativity, reflection, balance, compassion, confidence, humor, common sense, appreciation, and resilience), why they work, and how to incorporate these into the classroom, home, and life.

Finally, studying and discussing the The End of Molasses Classes with our Miller Design Team this year has created great conversation about innovative ways we enliven and ignite engagement in all learners.  His journey in this book is filled with successes, heartaches, mistakes, and multiple triumphs, culminating in the hugely successful Ron Clark Academy.  Beware though, he is tough on parents; he believes in the power of forming bonds with each child by sacrificing to make time for the child before anything else (including work and outside extracurricular activities).  As a working mom, I found myself yelling at the book while also applauding his strong commitment to personal excellence for each learner no matter the means.

His basic message for everyone:  “Be different.  Be bold.  Join it.”  I encourage you to read, study, and form your own opinions.  Here’s hoping as we continue on this LME journey to educational excellence, we all consider the essential, excellent qualities to avoid molasses classes!  🙂