I am nearing my fifth year of teaching and finally getting around to starting a blog. I have spent these past few years keeping a journal of my thoughts, experiences, and ideas, in hopes of turning them into a book one day. What I realized was, I cannot wait to share these adventures with the world. So many new teachers enter their first classrooms, filled with so much hope and energy. Quickly, however, they realize teaching is way more than what their college courses prepared them for. I know there are many teacher blogs out there, but I want this one to be different. I want this to be the kind of place where teachers come to read that the craziness that defines their classrooms is perfectly normal. I want this to be a place where teachers come for inspiration, words of wisdom, and a bit of humor. I recently began reading Tom Coughlin’s Earn the Right to Win. Coughlin has spent the past nine years as the head coach of the New York Football Giants. This, his second book, is not a biography or even much of a sports book, but a guide for leaders in any career field. It’s a collection of stories and anecdotes that preach that the key to success is superior preparation. I realized that so many of Coughlin’s points reflect my own successes in the classroom. Being an avid sports fan, I have followed the careers of many of the great coaches. I have become inspired by the words of greats, such as John Wooden, Vince Lombardi, Bill Walsh, Tom Landry, Pat Reilly, Pat Summitt, etc… So much of how coaches plan for games and build winning teams, is how I run my classroom communities. Success in the classroom, like success on a football field or basketball court, begins with a winning game plan. As John Wooden used to say, “The preparation is where success is truly found… It was the journey I prized above all else.” So, my first message to all teachers out there, new and seasoned: Step one on the ladder of classroom success is PREPARE TO WIN! Cliques aside, you cannot expect instant success. You cannot expect to be an effective educator without outstanding effort, commitment, and superior preparation. You have to draw up a winning GAME PLAN.