Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Tom's Ten Tenets

     Over the course of my almost thirty years in education some themes have emerged that have guided my work over time. What's really interesting for me is that they continue to be relevant with the work I do with educators today. These ten tenets frame my beliefs and are part of the message I share today. Over the next few weeks I will write a separate post about each one and share some of the significance I think they play as we continue to refine what we do to produce the best outcomes for students and all educators. Here's my top ten list (in no priority):

1. Learning does NOT take place in ten-month segments.  It is continuous.

2. Every day provides a new opportunity to exert a positive influence.

3. It’s not about arriving.  It’s about striving!

4. When we eliminate hope, we create desperation.

5. Dreams should come in size XXXL so that we can grow into them.

6. What we focus on expands.

7. Every student represents a success story waiting to be told.

8. Are you looking for a Code of Conduct or a Code of Consequence?

9. If we don’t model what we teach, then we are teaching what we model.

10. First with the heart, then with the head.

     I'm looking forward to sharing my thinking on these ten tenets and hope they provide a spark for you to take forward to ignite a conversation with your colleagues.


  1. Great list, Tom! I'm looking forward to following your posts. Over the years I've learned that a focus on opportunities is a healthy way to approach the ever present challenges of being a teacher but I like you list a lot better.

    1. Thanks Terry. I look forward to the feedback. I share your belief that our focus determines our outcomes.

  2. Hi, Tom. Looking forward to your writing on these topics. I was just posting about number 8 -any chance you can write that one now?? I quoted this post in full on my blog:

  3. Thanks for the reply and for sharing this out. Enjoyed your blog post as well. You've hit on the nub of the challenge and I like your thinking around steps to take. Part of the solution lies in providing time. Some of the biggest challenges are just that because the desired outcomes we are looking for are not familiar to all of our students. In other words, they don't/won't get it the first time (or the tenth time for some) and will need more practice. Feel free to e-mail me directly at if you'd like to talk further. Tenet #1 is out today.