Make A Difference

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Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
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What difference do teachers make?

Man and Superman is a four-act drama written by George Bernard Shaw in 1903. Although Man and Superman can be performed as a light comedy of manners, Shaw intended the drama to be something deeper, as suggested by the title, which comes from Friedrich Nietzsche‘s philosophical ideas about the “Übermensch” – Superman – as a goal for humanity to set for itself.


This notorious quote is synonymous with the play.

Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” (George Bernard Shaw)

The quote in its original form is: “He who can, does. He who cannot, teaches”, taken from Maxims for Revolutionists.

There is some (light-hearted) extension to the quote, “those who can’t teach, teach teachers!” How true about education consultants in schools? Sometimes the simplest questions are the hardest to answer …

In this post, I would like to share a few important reminders for every teacher, working throughout the busy revision and examination season.

Young people appreciate great teachers as much as they ever did, but are more intolerant of mediocre ones.” (@RealGeoffBarton)

Simple Questions:

In a staff CPD session I led with colleagues at an East London school this week, I asked them ‘what makes a good teacher?’

Throughout the training, colleagues discussed formative and summative methodologies to work out the answer to such a simple – yet important – question.

The Good Teacher

No two teachers are the same, nor should they be … All good teachers share the same goal: to give children and young people the best chance in life. However, the way in which they reach that goal will depend on what works for them and their pupils.” (Sir Michael Wilshaw)

The Good Teacher:

In my original blog, the visual anatomy of a good teacher written in January 2014, I concluded that the following traits were some of the most-common qualities found in a good teacher.

The Good Teacher

This blog inspired my thoughts on the Vitruvian Teaching model, which led to writing my latest book over the past two years – Teacher Toolkit: helping you survive your first five years in teaching.


So, as the examination season approaches, here are a few important reminders for those who are teachers, for those who have friends who are working in schools. This is the difference good teachers make:

  • [Good] Teachers have the greatest impact on disadvantaged students.
  • Teachers are amazing individuals.
  • Teachers shape young people.
  • Teachers change lives! How many other careers do you know that do that?
  • Teachers have a huge impact on the local community.
  • Teachers work hard by default and work tirelessly to get the best out of others.
  • Teachers are committed and passionate human beings.
  • Teachers work in challenging circumstances with time-constraint and complex situations.

shutterstock_288233360 Happy child playing with toy wings against summer sky background. Retro toned

Image: Shutterstock

What Teachers Make?

The performance poet Taylor Mali, shares one of his passionate poems about his experiences of teaching middle school, high school, and college. If you have never seen it, watch it: it’s just brilliant!

I [teachers] make a goddamn difference. So, how about you?


@TeacherToolkit logo new book Vitruvian man TT

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