Time to Focus on the 4 Kinds of Smart.


I think we may be at a turning point for public education, but what do I know (please don’t answer… or send me insulting/truthful emails).There May Be More, But This Picture Indicates There Are Only Four Types of Smart.

In ten years, the world of education may be overtaken by home schooling, charter schools, and online learning (this interweb thing really seems to be catching on).

This makes me a little sad because I’m a big fan of public education (almost as big of fan as I am of chocolate).

But it’s all I know.

Maybe there is a better way.

Maybe our students can be better served by another type of system.

Maybe, just maybe, a system that relied less on government funding could better educate our children.

I don’t want to sound crazy, but schools might be better off if they didn’t have to answer to politicians (a crazy thought I know, but I’m just throwing it out there).

Here’s what I do know.

Public schools try to be everything to everybody.

We teach.  We serve breakfast.  We make sure kids know how to drive.

We offer exercise (if you count PE).  We put a whole lot of students on the Honor Roll. 

We teach kids how to type (why… I don’t know).

We provide sports and after school activities. 

We provide things we can’t afford and spend money in ways that may not be fiscally responsible.

To summarize, we try and do so much that we probably set ourselves up for failure.

My latest theory is we need to downsize.

Focus in on what students actually need.

Focus on things our country could actually benefit from since our students will be the ones leading us in 20 years.

I see 4 types of smart in students.

Academic.  Athletic.  Vocational.  The Arts.

Not 100% of all kids fall into one of these categories, but 99% of them do.

Common sense tells me we should identify what a student is good at and then help them be great.

Yet, we sort of identify what a kid is good at then we try to make them the same level of good in the other areas.

Mediocrity seems to be our goal.

Academic kids should be thrown in rigorous programs at a very young age.

Athletic kids should be given the opportunity to maximize their skills.

Vocational students should learn the skills they need to keep this country growing.

Students who thrive in the Arts should be allowed to do just that.

I think it’s simple.

And I think we make it complicated.

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Interviewing Makes Me Smarter.


In my profession, I get the opportunity to interview a lot of people.

This could mean a couple of things.

One, people hate me with such a passion that after a very short period of being around me on a daily basis, they quit.

Or two (and my much prefered theory), while I’m not a genius (this is constantly reinforced by the people who live in my house) I’ve been able to hire good/great people who sometimes have opportunities to take other/better jobs.

Either way, I get to interview lots and lots of people.Truth Be Told... I Wasn't That SMART to Begin With.

On a slow year, I would say I have 5 openings in various positions.

That means I interview about 25-40 different candidates every 12 months.

In a more hectic time, this number could easily triple.

And that’s a lot of interviews.

This brings me to a new theory.

Interviewing isn’t a science.

It’s an art (no, this isn’t my theory… someone already had this brainstorm…).

When interviewing you find yourself looking for certain things:  a good work ethic, passion, leadership, an ability to get along with others, organization, forward-thinking, etc.

These are what we call no-brainers (welcome to behind the curtain of school administration).

When you think about it, no one is looking for:  a bad work ethic,  little or no passion, an inability to lead, someone who can’t get along with others, disorganization, and backward-thinking.

My theory (which isn’t completely crazy… despite the thoughts of these same people who eat my food and are entertained by the 1,000 TV stations I provide them) is there’s one attribute you have to look for
in all interview candidates.

They must be smarter than you.Yes, this theory finds its genius in its simplicity (as do all good theories).

Don’t just hire smart people, hire smarter people.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:  The key to success:  be the dumbest person in the room.

Even more interesting (to me) than what happens at the conclusion of an interview is what happens during an interview.

The smart ones make me smarter (not that difficult of an accomplishment, but an accomplishment nonetheless).

And this is the part of the interview process I really enjoy.

It’s an opportunity to talk to people who have knowledge and experiences I don’t.

Even though I can’t hire every person I interview, it always works out for me.

Because while they may not get the job, I always get smarter.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.