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Blended Bites Blog

The True Teacher Leader

Jessica Anderson

How are teachers heroes who make a difference in the lives of kids?
This is a tough post to write as I'm still trying to convince myself that this tragedy is just a dream. Unfortunately it's not. One of my teacher heroes, Ron Russell, recently passed in an avalanche accident. He wasn't my "teacher" per-say, but a teaching colleague I worked with and learned from for a year. In the year I worked with him and carpooled every day from our hometown of Anaconda to our place of employment, I learned three big lessons about teaching and life:

1) Enjoy the scenery. We spend so much of our days focused on where we are going, what is going on in our lives, and what has/hasn't been accomplished. At some point throughout our day we need to stop and look at the scenery. Yes, Ron, Mount Haggin and Mount Powell really put into perspective just how small my problems are. The world is really full of magnificent views that teach you a lot about yourself! I will forever look up to those mountains on my drive to school and think of you and the role model you were. 

2) Building a relationship is key. My 2nd year teaching I was really struggling connecting to my students. I was in survival mode just trying to keep up with the content I had to teach and my management was suffering. I shared my concerns about my management and Ron offered to come and observe my class. He was honest in his observations and gave me some important advice that I share when others are struggling; you must build a relationship with your students if you want them to respect you. I live by this (in and out of teaching). You don't survive as a teacher if you don't. 

3) Model, Model, Model. What you want reflected must first be modeled by passion, risk-taking, and compassion. You can't be afraid to fail. You must be willing to take risks and push forward to achieve your goals. You can be both a Teacher Leader and a Community Leader. Your positive presence in the community is just as important as in the classroom. Lead by example and people will follow.  (Ron, for some reason when I think of the above, I picture myself kite skiing. I may have to take the risk and try it. Your stories always intrigued me.) 

Even though I can't tell you this face-to-face---Thanks Ron! You've made a difference in my life. You are a true Teacher Hero and will be greatly missed by all. 


Photo taken by Anaconda Community Intervention during red ribbon week