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How Teachers can Learn from the Lady in the Iphone

I was given the opportunity to attend an AVID conference last week in Palm Desert, CA. It was being held in a nice hotel, about 2 hours away from where I lived. I had never been there, so I was going to need directions.

In the past, I would pull out a map or look it up online. This time, however, all I did was speak into my iPhone, and I was given step-by-step, turn-by-turn directions by this really nice lady, with a very pleasant and calm voice.

I love Siri.

On my drive over to the conference, I was listening to this lady in my iPhone, and I was thinking, “I wish all teachers could be like her.”

I know you’re thinking I’m a little nuts right now, but that iPhone lady really has some important qualities that if teachers would adopt in their classrooms, our kids would be a little more successful.

Let me explain.

How Teachers can Learn from the Lady in the Iphone

1. She’s always in a good mood and ready to help.

The lady in the iPhone never says, “No,” when I ask for directions. She never says, “I’m kind of busy right now. Just wait, or come back later.” She never says, “Now is a bad time. I have a lot of stuff on my plate at the moment. Can you come back tomorrow?”

I can always count on the lady in the iPhone to be willing to help. I can count on her to help me – anytime.

I wish all teachers were like this. Right?

I know there were times when I didn’t give all my attention to students who asked for help. I was too busy writing an email or getting my lesson ready.

Amazing teachers are always in a good mood and ready to help.

I remember hearing about a teacher who would put a happy face or a sad face on the white board each morning depending on what mood she was in. Students knew if they saw a happy face, it was going to be a good day. If they saw a sad face on the whiteboard, they had better not ask for help on that day. This is not what amazing teachers do.

Amazing teachers leave their negative emotions outside the door, and give their students a good day every day.


2. She is always willing to recalculate your route if you miss a turn.

This is what I really love about the lady in my iPhone. Sometimes, I don’t take the street that she wants me to take. Most of the time, it’s because I’m not paying attention, and I just miss the turn. In those times, I don’t have to worry about her scolding me or giving me a 5-minute lecture on the importance of following directions. She has never said, “Sam, this is the third time you have not followed my directions. You never listen. I’m done with you. If you want to get to your destination, you’re going to have to get there yourself. I’m out of here. Good luck.”

All the lady does is recalculate based on where I am.

She will identify where I am, and create a new route to get me to where I want to go.

It might take me longer to get there, now that I made a wrong turn, but the lady in my iPhone calmly and patiently gives me the new directions.

Why can’t all teachers be like this?

I remember giving these why-it’s-important-to-listen-to-me lectures. A student would not follow my instructions on a project, and I would get frustrated and start my soliloquy.

Amazing teachers know that some students get lost along the way. They make poor decisions and end up further away from where they need to be. Amazing teachers understand that students are at different locations in their education, and one set of directions doesn’t fit all.

Amazing teachers are always recalculating a new route for students based on where they are on their journey toward success.IMG_6121


 3. She wants to get me to my destination as much as I do.

Unless my battery runs out, I know that the lady in my iPhone will keep giving me directions on how I can get to my destination. It’s like she wants to get me to where I want to go as much as I do.

If I want to go to Beverly Hills, the lady in my iPhone doesn’t ask me, “Why?”

She doesn’t say, “Sam that’s a city for the rich folk. Why are you going there? Don’t tell me you’re going to go shopping.”

She doesn’t say, “Let’s be realistic.”

No. She just starts giving me directions.

Why can’t all teachers be like this?

There are students in our classes who are used to getting poor grades, or they have a reputation for getting in trouble. Maybe they have a learning disability or an unstable home life. We know that they want to be successful just as much as any other student. They might not admit it, but we know that they would love to get one of those honor student awards that we give out at the end of each term.

They also want to get to the Beverly Hills of education, and we have to want it as much as they do.

We can’t automatically accept the let’s-be-realistic attitude when it comes to these students.

Amazing teachers believe in ALL their students, even the ones who don’t believe in themselves.


I would encourage you to be a little more like the lady in my iPhone. I know that sounds a little out there, but you know what I mean. Let’s be willing to do what ever is necessary to help our kids get to their destination.

Until next time, here’s to your Success in the Classroom!



P.S. Don’t forget to check out the relaunch of the Amazing Teacher Podcast! Click Here!




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