Students enter classrooms filled with "Julies" and "Mr. Blacks" every single day and the effect each of these kinds of teachers has on students is far reaching. (Not sure who Julie and Mr. Black are? Check out Chapter One of Plan Like a Pirate!)

How we choose to plan for and interact with our students has the potential for both good and bad consequences. When we take time to ensure that students are at the center of our instruction, that we have made the effort to get to know them, and that we have planned learning that meets their needs, the chances our impact will be transformative drastically improves.

Great teaching begins with you—the passion you have for your students, your love of the content you teach, and even the legacy you wish to leave behind. No doubt, you will leave a mark on students’ lives. You just need to ask yourself, will that mark be a scar, or will it be something that leaves students with memories of inspiration, empowerment, encouragement, and love?

After reading chapter one of Plan Like a Pirate, reflect on your own “Tale of Two Teachers” and the impact each had on you as a student. Use the organizer below to recall your experience with the best and worst teachers you’ve encountered throughout your education. Did you have a Julie? Who was your Mr. Black? Did they leave you with scars or something else? When you are done, think about how the kind of educator you are will have a lasting impact on the students you have the privilege of teaching now and in the future.