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1 Beacon Street
Boston, MA, 02108
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ANet is a nonprofit dedicated to the premise that every child in America deserves an excellent education and the opportunities it provides. We pursue our vision of educational equality in America by helping schools boost student learning with great teaching that is grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

ANet blog

As a mission-driven nonprofit organization, our primary concern is helping ensure equitable opportunity for all students.

Working alongside schools, we’ve learned that great teaching is grounded in standards, data, and insights shared among educators. We believe a blog can help us make a difference by spreading the ideas and effective practices of educators we work with.

We’re proud of the expertise our team has built over our ten years, and we'll be featuring contributions from ANetters across the org on topics in which they’ve immersed themselves.

Help us spread opportunity for all students: please share posts that you find valuable with your colleagues. And please add your thoughts in the comments: we would love this blog to facilitate knowledge-sharing in all directions.

Happy World Teachers' Day!

Jeff Odell

by Jeff Odell

In education, there’s no silver bullet…except maybe great teachers.

Everyone can think of a teacher who had a special impact on them—who inspired them, helped them overcome a challenge, even changed the course of their life.

For me, it was Ms. Langoise in first grade and Ms. Lyons, Señor Knauerhaze, and Dr. Sheets in high school.

Like many ANetters, I’m a former teacher (12 years, mostly kindergarten and first grade). On back-to-school nights, I used to tell parents and guardians that I aspired to be one of those special teachers to as many of their kids as I could. Recently, I ran into a former student, now a young adult, at an event, and she and her mom both burst into tears before hugging me. I think I can count her as one success.


But what makes teachers successful—whether as one of those special ones or “simply” supporting students to meet grade-level standards? 

Certainly they must know their content and relevant standards. They need to be able to teach, assess understanding, and reteach to bring all their students along. Classroom management, high expectations, fostering a productive learning environment, empathy, and emotional intelligence are all important. There’s also continuous professional learning, collaboration with peers, and planning, planning, planning. Teachers manage budgets, evaluate curricula, order materials and supplies, learn and use new technologies, plan special events, communicate with families, assess, prepare reports, write recommendations… The list is endless. 

“Compared to any other aspect of schooling, teachers have the greatest impact on student achievement.”

"Understanding a Teacher’s Long-Term Impact," Edutopia

ANet provides critical tools teachers use to meet their students’ learning needs. And our coaches build school leaders’ ability to support their teachers. I’m proud to work at an organization that’s all about empowering teachers. 

But we know great teaching is more than a checklist, more even than a science or craft or art. Great teaching is magic. I remember how Ms. Langoise made me feel that I belonged, Ms. Lyons nurtured quality and creativity, Sr. K. made me laugh while learning, and Dr. Sheets fostered exciting debates. 

In education, we often say, there’s no silver bullet…except maybe great teachers. On this World Teachers’ Day, take a moment to remember the special teachers in your life. I bet they’d appreciate a note.

Jeff is our managing director of marketing and communications.

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