Step #1 To Be An Unconventional Teacher

Step #1: Embrace and live your teacher dreams

Step #1: Embrace and Live Your Teacher Dreams


Jon Hinthorne 

(An Unconventional Teacher)

December 6, 2020


Being unconventional in our current education system is an easy task. Our system is still full of outdated practices, over testing of students, and lack of true teacher support. This makes standing out and being unique for the sake of one’s students very difficult for anyone! Those teachers who have identified unconventional methods for their practice to fit them as a teacher as well as their students are on their way towards greatness. 


An Unconventional Teacher has two main goals:

  1. To help me and other teachers reflect on our teaching practice &

  2. To build a community of teacher leaders who strive to be unapologetically different for the sake of their students.

This post explores the other first thing that I explored: what teacher moves or methods make a teacher unconventional? In this first series of blog posts, we will explore each of the 10 steps to becoming an unconventional teacher. These steps originated from answering that question about optimal moves and methods. Please note that these are not a formula and not meant for every teacher and every classroom. You might not want to include a step or you might already be really good at one of the steps. 

 Step #1: Embrace and live your teacher dreams. 

Every person that I have met began teaching with high hopes and dreams to make a difference in another’s life. This optimism fueled them through their struggles and guided them through their biggest successes. Over time though, the arduous nature of the job often tires out the most passionate and visionary teacher. 

 One in three of our nation’s teachers end up leaving the profession within the first five years and we are currently seeing the highest number of first year teachers leaving! (Source: Article in Forbes).  About one out of every six teachers work a second or third job too (Source: Pew Research Center). There are countless reasons for these staggering numbers, but there are ways to complete a full career as a teacher even in these current and unprecedented times. 


An unconventional teacher might approach the profession a different way to surmount those statistics and keep their original dream alive. They could continue to share and reflect on their original dreams with their students and peers. They could ask for help if not getting the proper support to do their jobs. The list goes on and on.

Embrace and live your teacher dreams each day and each class of each day. Reach back to why you decided to be a teacher in the first place and put that front and central in your world. Write it on a sticky note. Post it on your computer desktop. Set a calendar reminder each day to pop up and remind you of it.

You are making a difference. Your long commitment to this job matters for your students, school, district, community, state, nation, and our world. 


Works Cited: 

Morrison, N. (2019). Number Of Teachers Quitting The Classroom After Just One Year Hits 

All-Time High. Retrieved from

Schaeffer , K. (2019). About one-in-six U.S. teachers work second jobs – and not just in the summer. Retrieved from


Stay tuned for more of the 10 Steps to be an unconventional teacher! 

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