“You need one person to believe in you in your entire life, just one. Often, that one person is a teacher.”
That quote comes from a Spirit magazine headline for a 2011 article about America’s Best Teachers, and I share the quote via T. Nick Ip’s book, Teacher Top 5. Ip spent fifteen years in finance and strategy before becoming an elementary school teacher to “find the poetry in his life.” Ip’s book, which is obviously a labor of love, has certainly found the poetry in those who have dedicated their lives to teaching.
Teacher Top 5 profiles twenty-five nationally recognized teachers and their Top 5 strategies for successful teaching. The book includes chapters on teachers who have been recognized as members of the National Teachers Hall of Fame, National Teachers of the Year, State Teachers of the Year, and numerous other awards. Each chapter in the book profiles individual teachers, exploring their backgrounds, their reasons for becoming a teacher, their desire for changes in the educational system, and, of course, their Top 5 recommendations for successful teaching.
The book should serve as a guiding light for young teachers and experienced teachers looking to revitalize their careers. Public education might also be well-served by placing Ip's book in the hands of administrators and policy makers attempting to standardize and centralize how good teaching should be measured. Standardization and centralization of curriculum are destroying the art of teaching and strangling the creativity and innovation that allows good teaching to thrive. I hope that people making educational policy would recognize this after reading Ip's book.
As the book makes clear, the nation's best teachers went into the profession for reasons of the heart, and they certainly remain in the profession for reasons of the heart. Policy makers might learn from Ip's book how they can avoid cutting the heart out of the art of teaching.
Ip’s book is accompanied by a website at www.teachertop5.com, which contains information about teachers profiled in the book. If you are a teacher, you can also share your Top 5 strategies for successful teaching and possibly be featured on the website.
The website also offers a means of purchasing Teacher Top 5. As one of the twenty-five teachers profiled in the book I can send a percentage of the sales price to an organization of my choice. If you purchase the book through my referral, 10% of the sales price will go to the Arts Program at Canutillo ISD in Canutillo, Texas. For your donation to help promote an arts program in public education, you will need to purchase the book from www.teachertop5.com and enter a referral code — JSTT5NM — in the “Order Notes” section during checkout. (I make no personal profit from sales of the book.)