Ron Clark a young white, energetic, and idealistic teacher leaves his small North Carolina school to teach in a New York inner city elementary school, where he takes on the most unruly 6th grade class at Inner Harlem Elementary school. Mr. Clark believed he could turn the class around with innovative teaching techniques and a set of what he calls his “essential rules.” Clark quickly learns that he isn’t’ going to be able to just walk into the classroom, command attention with his smile and a set of rules; the first rule being “We are family” when none of the students in his class look like him, or talk like him. In order to know how to reach them Mr. Clark must first understand his students individually and collectively. According to Covey (2003) before people feel that you understand them, they will not be open to your influence; we must walk a mile in the other person’s shoes which is exactly what Ron Clark does.
The character traits exemplified by Ron Clark in The Ron Clark Story (Haines 2006) are determination, integrity, optimism, courage, trustworthiness, humility, and a sense of humor. It was with a courageous heart and undying determination that Ron Clark was able to really understand how his students lived and felt every day. His lessons did not stop after the bell rang, in fact that was when many of the most valuable lessons began. Clark offered to make dinner for three siblings of one of his students just so that she could do her homework while her mom held down two jobs. He ventured into dangerous neighborhoods to help another student choose to take the right path in life. In order to communicate at their level and to make learning fun Clark created and performed a presidential rap song to help the students memorize every president in order, and their historical contribution. Clark eventually gains the respect of his students and when they know how much he cares, they accept and live within the essential rules, and accept the...
References: Covey, S. (2003) Principle-centered leadership. New York, NY. Free Press division of Simon & Schuster
Burkons, H., Friend, B., Izzicupo et al (Producers).Haines, R. (Director) The Ron Clark Story. (2006) [motion picture] United States. Johnson MAGNA Global Entertainment.
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