Are You a 1, a 2, or a 3?

As I continue to reflect on Annette Breaux’s talk here this week, I find myself aspiring to be a 3 (and knowing I’m there in some respects), but acknowledging, too, that in many regards, I’m a 2. I hope I’ll never be a 1, and pride myself on not being one, too.


Annette broke teachers into three categories. We should all aspire to be 3s, sure, but how many of us are there now? How many of us are working to get there? How many of us once were 3s but are now 1s?

Teachers who are 1s :

  • don’t do much teaching. They are always reviewing.
  • complain…a lot!
  • smile…a little!
  • have lots of management problems, but it’s always the fault of the students or their parents.
  • provide all teacher-directed activities.
  • are averse to change.
  • have an “I don’t care” attitude. They don’t recognize that the sleeping or defiant child is issuing a call for help. They believe that kids are lazy without realizing something inside is affecting their motivation.
  • don’t like kids (obviously!).
  • point the finger at everyone but the person in the mirror.

(I would venture that most people taking the time to read blogs like mine are not 1s. I’d also venture that most people know 1s.)

Teachers who are 2s :

  • are usually capable of teaching.
  • don’t realize they are being caught up in the negative stuff.
  • think everything is a burden, and, sadly, their students know.
  • when they know they’re being observed, they turn it on and do a good job.
  • point the finger at everyone else (but not as much as 1s).
  • are able to manage a classroom.

(During this part of the presentation, I found myself thinking that 2s have the potential to be 3s…and that’s important.)

Teachers who are 3s :

  • have classroom communities that, when visitors walk out, they say, “Wow.” The rapport is that strong.
  • love to teach and they tell people they love to teach.
  • are good at it.
  • always appear happy (not to say they always are happy), because anything otherwise would be unprofessional.
  • willingly express opinions and speak to administrators about concerns because it’s a professional practice to do so.
  • don’t sweat an observation because they are always teaching, anyway. (Instead of, “When are you coming?” they say, “Come whenever.”)
  • are the ones students love the most.
  • do not engage in school gossip, even with their friends.
  • embrace change with a positive attitude.
  • lack special talents and are not all-knowing. They just want to get better.
  • will accept any child in their classroom.

As Annette presented her concepts of 1s, 2s, and 3s, I was embarrassed to admit to myself that, though I want to be firmly in the 3 category, there are elements of my practice that put me in the 2 category. I’m not there to stay, though, and that’s what matters.

Annette Breaux’s books are available for purchase here and she is also onTwitter.


5 responses to “Are You a 1, a 2, or a 3?

  1. This is a nice framework for a starting conversation related to the role of teachers as professional. I think this is a good seed for many future posts and conversations. As always, you keep me thinking and growing, and I appreciate it. Thanks!

  2. Would love to share this post at a faculty meeting. I am going to share it with our admin. Thanks!

  3. Thank you for sharing this. I will have to check out Annette Breaux’s work. I can confidently say that I am a 3 about 95% of the time. I love to have my administrators pop in and see what is happening in our room whenever they can (and they love to pop in). I have conversations with them about how we can improve things and send them emails with “gems” I find online. And I am a change agent for sure. I am working in my building to help others become 3s.

  4. I’m not comfortable with this. It seems to me that there’s a wide gap between 2 and 3. What about teachers who love to teach but aren’t vocal about it? Is it really professional to seem happy all the time? What if an administration is requiring a change that you feel is harmful for students?

    In fairness, I haven’t seen any of the presentations or read the books you’re talking about, so it may be that some of these questions are addressed by the original author in more detail, & can’t really be expressed in a blog post – there’s not enough room! 🙂

    • If you love to teach, you make people aware of it by saying positive things about your profession rather than negative ones. And the key word regarding happiness is to “seem” it. No one is happy all the time, who could be? It’s a good thing for our kids not to be burdened by our problems. Tweet @annettebreaux and ask her your questions. They are valid.

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