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No Trochi Mochi – Expecting the Best of our Students and of Ourselves

I took my family to a local photography studio to get our family portrait taken.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lady at the counter was one of my former students. It was great to see her, even better when she recognized me and was genuinely happy to see me.

Then, as I was speaking with her, two other ladies off to the side, waiting to pick up photos, called my name.

As it turned out, they were also former students of mine.

What a coincidence!

I am used to seeing former students while I’m out, but to see three at the same time?

That was cool.

One of the former students said that she still remembered when I used to tell the class, “No Trochi Mochi.”

I actually laughed out loud.

No Trochi Mochi

Every year, when I gave my first day introductions to the class, I would always tell them, “When you turn in your assignments, I want no Trochi Mochi.”

They had the same question that you probably have, “What’s Trochi Mochi?”

Then I would tell the story.

When I was a kid, my mom would tell me to go clean the garage, so I went out and swept a little here and cleaned a little there, but it was in no way my best effort.

I would go in and tell my mom, “I’m done.”

Then she would say those three words I hated – “Let me check.”

She would go into the garage, and see my less-than-excellent work, and say, “That’s Trochi Mochi. Go do it again.”

(Trochi Mochi is a phrase that my Mom learned growing up in Texas. Coming from an Hispanic family, we have a lot of these Spanish phrases that, I’m assuming, have been passed down through the generations.)

I would then connect that story to the effort that I was expecting from my students.

I expected their best effort – not Trochi Mochi.

Throughout the year, students would come up to me and show me their work and ask, “Is this Trochi Mochi?”

It was a fun way to remind the kids to do their best.

When my former student reminded me of this, even after over 10 years or so, I have to admit, I felt a little bit of pride.

As teachers, part of our role is to impress upon our students the need to do their best not only in school work, but in everything they do.

That lesson, as you know, will help them be successful even after they leave your class.

Teachers have such a great opportunity to teach so much more than just what the Standards require us to teach.

Amazing teachers understand this, and use the time they have with their students to teach them lessons on punctuality, organization, compassion, excellence, communication, goal-setting, etc.

Here’s the key, however: Amazing teachers demand the same high expectations of themselves that they demand of their

That is, if we want our students to be punctual, organized, compassionate, etc., we have to demonstrate these qualities first.

You know the saying: Do as I say, not as I do.

Amazing teachers believe that No Trochi Mochi starts with them.

It’s easy to get into the habit of giving less than our best, especially during the month of October when we are so in need of a holiday.

Unfortunately, it’s not fair to the kids. We can do better than this.

So, I would encourage you to take a look at how you’re teaching at the moment, and ask the question: Is this Trochi Mochi?

Let’s give our best effort for the kids.

No Trochi Mochi.

I want to thank all of you who are sharing these posts. I am amazed every time I see the number of times these posts have been viewed. My goal is to share with as many new teachers and soon-to-be teachers these tips and strategies as I can, and every time you share these posts, you help me reach my goal. Again, thank you.

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Thank you for being amazing teachers!

You are changing the world one kid at a time.

Until next time,

Here’s to your Success in the Classroom!






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