A reader comments with hard-won knowledge. I would summarize it as being prepared with a variety of approaches and strategies and knowing when to apply the one that is right for the situation. No single approach is right for all.

Diane, I’m an inner city teacher with 14 years of experience.The guiding principle I see for teachers’ practice is to create a teaching style that plays to one’s own strengths as a person and a member of the educational community. I believe that a great diversity in approaches creates a healthy learning experience for all.But this also means that there is a place for the driven disciplinarian.Despite the poorly thought out tone of the excerpt you shared, there is a need for something of an assertive no-nonsense approach to teaching, especially in the most challenging environments. I’m talking about environments with no functioning discipline in the hallways or in administrator’s offices. In some inner city schools, the teacher is truly on their own.

Beneath the Chuck Norris tone, I see the practice of clarity of directions and expectations, immediate and appropriate disciplinary feedback, a commitment by the teacher to infuse the classroom with drive and energy… these are all desirable.

I love my students in that special way that is unique to teachers. Part of how I bring that to my classroom is a willingness to “be the bad guy.”

But this is only an *approach* to teaching. The goal should be the same as that of a teacher who prefers to only catch flies with honey.

They may have a different approach, but the diversity of approaches can– in a well run and supportive school– all be successfully aimed at the same goal.

That teacher must temper their friendliness and fun-loving environment with a willingness to develop a tougher side to balance this. The reverse is also true.

The same applies to the curriculum. Teach your strengths, but make a conscious effort to supplement what you provide the students with areas where you’re not so strong.

This is what kills me about lockstep teaching. The very best of what the most skilled teachers have to offer will be dulled– irrevocably diminishing what it means to be an educated person in our nation.