Saturday, December 6, 2014

Inspiration - 212° the extra degree

“What inspires you?  What gets you to give your best day in and day out?” Great reflection questions via @Jennifer Hogan and #compelledtribe

I am inspired each day by our students and the many talented faculty at our school!  I am also inspired by @maureenbur1 and @MR_ABUD who recently introduced our administration team to 212° the extra degree by Sam Parker.  

“Applying one extra degree of temperature to water means the difference between something that is simply very hot and something that generates enough force to power a machine – a beautifully uncomplicated metaphor that ideally should feed our every endeavor – consistently pushing us to give the extra effort in every task, action and effort we undertake.”  212° the extra degree by Sam Parker
This inspiring book and idea has been used in trainings and workshops worldwide.
The purpose of Sam Parker’s book is to help individuals define and take ownership of their daily practice by adding the “extra degree” to their effort.  Sometimes it can be difficult to reach that extra degree when so many outside forces seem to encompass our profession.  There is political uncertainty surrounding current legislation, education reform, funding, standardized testing, evaluation process... the list could go on.  We all have a lot of stress and uncertainties that creep into our daily practice.  To combat the unknown or negative aspects within our profession it is important to sustain inspiration, giving us the energy and focus to obtain the “extra degree.”  
Reading books such as 212° the extra degree and being a connected educator is how many find inspiration.  I recently received a video on the Landfill Harmonic: An Orchestra Built From Trash.  It is a true inspiration and showcases how a community can empower children to be amazing.   I would even suggest that it is a place where everyone is giving the “extra degree” and the community is serving as an influence to those throughout the world.  Check it out!
In the spirit of the holidays, Landfill Harmonic and Parker’s book:  commit to operating at “212 degrees” in everything we do. Maintain the focus of high quality teaching and learning built on positive relationships - supporting all students, families, and each other.  As we make the push towards Winter Break, try to eliminate any uncertainties that might creep into our minds and only focus on why we became educators… to empower children to be amazing!
Parker suggests that once you start giving the extra effort or the extra degree that “it’ll be difficult for you to act in any other way. 212 will become a wonderful new habit in your world – a backdrop to all that you do – a habit that will create fantastic life results for you and help you serve as an influence to all those people around you.”

I look forward to finishing another calendar year with an amazing group of teachers, support staff, parents, and most importantly... students who inspire us each and every day!  

Enjoy the holidays and continue the positive energy into 2015!

Keith Howell
Be positive and passionate about the greatest job in the world… teaching children!


  1. Keith, thank you for reminding us that lasting impact can come from a small gesture or event. What we must do is continually search for ways to give just one more degree. It will become a habit if we practice it regularly. Love the book and this post. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting! Sometimes just a little extra effort can make all the difference. Have a great Sunday!