Ron Clark – The best among the teachers
There are those who preach dreams and others who make them everyday reality. "I am driven and I have a vision for their future, and I want them to succeed" says Ron Clark referring to his students with a passion in his voice and the spark in his eyes. Oprah Winfrey in her letter to Ron shows her appreciation for his work saying "you are a powerful role model of what education can be". What turned a regular teacher into an icon for teaching profession?
Ron Clark’s story began when he gave up his job at the school in North Carolina in the pursuit of his dreams. He went to New York to achieve something big, it was time for him to do what he preached in the class – ‘to dream big’. It was not an easy transition, New York was nothing like the south.
While he succeeded to get a job in the inner New York city as a school teacher the kids here were of a different kind. Ron was not accepted as a teacher by these kids right away. At one point Ron almost gave up his dreams due to the challenges he faced in the new job. Finally he summed up all his energy to do what he has set out to do. He wanted to nurture the potential in these kids who are unaware of their inner talents. He faced lot of resistance from the students, their families and even the management. Amidst all the resistance Ron’s determination grew stronger.
He went through lot of trouble to come close to the students, he encouraged them to dream big. He went overboard to help them in any way he could. He understood that even though all the kids had lot of potential they have been conditioned to believe that exams are very difficult and they could never crack them. The biggest challenge for Ron was to build the confidence back into these kids so that they can believe in their own abilities.
He formulated new rules for the conduct of the class. Just few weeks before the big exam during his first year as a teacher in New York, he suffered from high fever and was advised to take complete bed rest for two weeks. To make sure that students are not falling behind the preparation, Ron recorded lectures on a video cassette and sent to the class. After all these efforts, the results in the preliminary exams were not satisfactory.
He understood that it is more of lack of confidence in the students due to what they were told previously about the exams than the lack of preparation that was holding them back. He asked the students to give their best in the exams irrespective of the results. When the results came out, everyone was surprised to see that the same kids who hardly could pass the preliminary exams topped the district scores in the State exams, a dream that students themselves may not have believed possible.
These results gave new hope to Ron. His belief in the methods he adopted grew stronger which he continued to build upon. The success at the New York school gave a new hope. Ron just proved what a little belief can do. He continues to pass this belief now through his academy.
Ron was awarded Disney Teacher of the Year Award in 2001. This brought him in to the limelight. His methods immediately got attention and were applied all over the country by other teachers.
Ron authored ‘Essential 55‘ which discusses his methods of teaching. This book has since then been recommended by many with high praises. ‘The Ron Clark Story‘, a movie based on Ron’s life capturing the events during his early New York days and the way he turned the knucklehead students in to big dreamers released in 2007.
Ron Started ‘Ron Clark Academy’ in Atlanta, GA, in 2007 which follows a unique curriculum that gives an opportunity to the students for international travel. You can get more information from the website "http://www.ronclarkacademy.com/about.aspx", while you are there you can even donate to the academy (no affiliations).
His message to the students is to dream big and to take risks to achieve those dreams. Ron is living his dream to show kids how to dream big and teaching them the art of believing through his academy. The lives of these kids are never the same again, they feel a new sense of self confidence to become something in their lives. Ron is turning the kids into believers in big dreams. Inspiresoul wishes Ron a very great success in all his future projects.