School’s Out… What a Year!

Well, here we are, the end of the 2021-2022 school year… and what a year it has been. A year of “almost” back to normal as we know it. What the future holds, we will see…

school's out

But this I know… leadership matters. The older I get, the more I see the need for better quality leadership. I find that many leaders are just plain cynical… they are concerned only with their own interests. They are so distrustful of others that they micromanage their way through leadership and typically disregard others’ opinions that could help the greater good. So, that’s why I write. The best leadership is servant-leadership, doing what is best for others and doing right by them. That should be what we are in education or any leadership position for anyway.

Nonetheless…

Last year, I finished my blog writing for the end of school with the top five most-read blogs for the school year. So I thought I would do that again. I find it interesting to see what people want to read about. Like anything we read, it comes down to your interests.

Here are the five most-read blogs from this past school year. Just click on the link to read again or read for the first time…

  1. A Teacher’s Value – Below the Average?
  2. I’m entering the “Transfer Portal”
  3. A Tribute for Teacher Appreciation… Mina Darnell
  4. Having a “wha-ha” moment… Abner Doubleday, Baseball, and The Civil War
  5. The Value of Tears…

As for my favorite… I’m going with this: Being a #girldad and Women Sports Equality

Personally, I would like to thank the readers of The Book Chamber Blog. Thank you for reading my thoughts, rants, or whatever you might call them. Your comments and feedback are always welcome, and it allows me to consider new topics each week. I have already started drafting a few topics for the next school year.

And… A Thank You to teachers everywhere who are in it for the students. You are the reason why education will always have a chance to help society.

If you are wondering what the most read blog is since I have been writing… Here it is… “Ride The Fence” Leadership

As summer vacation nears, make time for yourself and your family. In the end, that is what is most important. And as always… if all else fails and you need something to do, read a book.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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The price of gas is high, but so are the snacks…

price_gauge_arm_leg_bothThe other day I stopped by a tote’sem (that’s what we called them growing up… gas station/convenience store) to get a snack. While waiting in line at the counter getting my Dr. Pepper and spicy peanuts, someone in front of me was complaining about gas prices. I agree; I also complain about gas prices, but what I noticed was that they were buying four sodas, four candy bars, and two bags of chips… their total was $21.76. Do you want to guess how much gas they bought? $5 worth. The guy told the clerk, “Can’t afford to buy much gas; it’s just too expensive.” I’m not sure what type of vehicle they were driving, but I thought they would need to buy gas again in about 30 miles or so. Now, I have no idea what the guy’s story is/was, but several thoughts ran through my mind. Should the guy have spent more on gas and less on snacks? He could have gone through a drive-through and possibly eaten for less. What was more important to him, and what was he focused on? Like I said, I’m not sure what the story is/was.

Never to miss an opportunity for a connection to educational leadership, I thought about how one’s actions tell a story; they always do. When it comes to being an educator, what do our actions say about us? When others watch us, what do they think our story as an educator is? Do they know, or do they make assumptions? Our students, do they see consistency in us as we teach and interact? Where do they see us placing our value; the snacks or the gas?

As I look back on this past year, I would hope that my students see consistency in me as an educator. I would hope that they know the value I place on education and the future it can afford them. I hope they know that I value them as a person more than a student. When our focus is on the “right thing,” and the student knows this, it seems to transcend over into other areas of their lives. Obviously, we can see some students who do not focus on the “right thing” and maybe a few teachers as well. But, nonetheless, our focus says much about who we are.

Given the option of spending money on snacks or gas seems rather trivial. I know what I would choose. My choice doesn’t make me more or less of a person, but I believe it shows many things. Let’s hope what others see is true for us and why we are in education to begin with.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

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Happy Mother’s Day…

If you would like to download a printer friendly copy of this, click here: A Mother’s Love

…A Mother’s Love…

Often times we lose sight of what love is...
But a mother’s love always helps us remember.

The unconditional love given by a mother to her children,
Transcends all our troubles and worries.

The gentle touch of feeling “I love you”
Settles our hearts to comfort.

A mother’s love, forever in and on our hearts,
Watching us grow with smiling eyes.

Knowing we have a voice…
of support, encouragement – affirmation and acceptance.

One who builds up…
Our lives as we live.

A mother’s love passed down into our lives,
To teach us to love our own children.

Sharing her life into eternity,
With memories to help us reflect.

Thankful for the lessons learned,
Helping us to be who we are.

A mother’s love, never unfelt.




© J Clay Norton, 2022

A Tribute for Teacher Appreciation… Mina Darnell

Many times in life, you can tell someone specifically how you feel. But to allow others to see and read your feelings, maybe not so much. So, for Teacher Appreciation Week, a tribute…

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I’m writing today, possibly for many of us, in our different ways, to say goodbye to Mina Darnell, who is retiring after 33.5 years of teaching, all at Clinton. I’m not here to talk about her as a leader, or a math teacher, or a long-time coach, or the sponsor of National Honor Society, or the many other things she did or does presently. Today, I’m talking about Mina Darnell as an educator. On this front, I can say, without a doubt, that she is one of the best I have ever seen. In and outside of the classroom, she treated everyone with the same high expectations and value. As an educator, her place was to educate, and she did just that, evident that you knew exactly where you stood. Affording everyone she interacted with, with honesty, respect, and fairness; precious and rare characteristics. As educators, as those who teach the future, it’s something that we need to remember to value. Education needs more educators like Mina Darnell because people like Mina Darnell are extraordinary educators. So, it can be sad that we are losing someone we adore, admire, respect, appreciate, etc. However, we can also be glad that she starts a new chapter and enjoys retirement. Personally, I will miss Mina’s subtle wit and common thinking ground across the hallway. Many a talk we have had and solved most of life’s problems. I am also grateful for the time I have had being an educator with her, as I am sure many of you are as well, and for the impact she has had on students’ lives and on all our lives, for that matter. A legacy she leaves. Mina Darnell is my teaching colleague, in many ways a mentor and a confidant. Most importantly, Mina Darnell is my friend, and I will miss her.

Go be a great educator and leader today… Our future needs it…

Remember… Think Leadership and Be For Others…

©2022 J Clay Norton

Want more Leadership Thoughts? Follow me on… Twitter @thebookchamber or follow the blog directly.

Want to share this leadership thought with others? Click on one of the social media sharing buttons below and help spread the good…