3 characteristics of a people builder

English: Group of children in a primary school...
English: Group of children in a primary school in Paris Español: Niños en una escuela elemental en París Français : Enfants dans une école élémentaire à Paris (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In my Rick Warren devotional today he made a point about being a people builder and that you should do three things if you want to be a people builder: 
  • challenging
  • encouraging
  • honest


I am writing these words on the whiteboard by my desk. I think that I'm encouraging and honest but I think I have to do a better job this year of challenging both myself and you to be more as well as doing these three things with my students in the classroom.

Before we can challenge others, we must challenge ourselves. I'm doing some simple challenges - every day I want to do one more pushup and one more situp than yesterday. Are you challenging yourself physically? Mentally? 

Are you challenging your students to do more and be more? They will rise or sink to the level of your expectations.

I've got to challenge you more as you read this blog to take the actions to be the incredible, unstoppable teacher that you can be.


I'm all in on the Habitudes as shared in Angela Maiers' book Classroom Habitudes. It isn't about feeling good, it is about the research and about moving from extrensic, rewards based motivation which DOESN'T WORK (see Dan Pink's video TED video on this - embedded below) to intrinsic motivation. i.e. I am curious and want to learn more. I am persistent and will keep working even when it is hard. I am innovative and create new ways to do things.

I'm also in on the genius hour and Passion Driven Classroom, this totally fits with what I"m also doing with Flattening the Classroom and helping students learn to collaborate. Angela just spent two days at my school with some of the most transformative, motivating workshop teaching I've ever experienced in my life. I left with hope AND practical ideas to make my classroom a better place.

She was encouraging, but she was also honest and challenging. Angela exhibited in a masterful way all three characteristics of a people builder and I thank her for coming. If you haven't read her two books, you're totally missing out.


I think sometimes in an effort to try to be an encourager that many educators have been swayed away from being honest. Not every child deserves an award AND THEY KNOW IT. Not every child deserves a good job AND THEY KNOW IT. When you praise for a job well done when the job was half done YOU ARE LYING.

Yes, find things that every child does well but BE HONEST about it. Not rude, not hurtful... honest.

It is my goal to find something that each child does extremely well. When I do this, often the "A+" grade student will come up to me and say, "Don't I do that well too?" Often these students think there is some kind of finite amount of talent in the world and when someone else has it, it is less for the A+ student. I'll often answer, "You know, you have many things you do well and you might do this well, I don't know everything about you, but right now, this person is exceptional - they've found an ability that they do extremely well, and I'm so proud we found it. Let's work to find your talents and I'm sure they are many."

By refusing the temptation to just dole out undeserved praise, my students know that I'm honest with them and they can trust me.

Are you a People Builder?

Are you a people builder? If so, how?

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