Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

A Blog for Teachers
by Mary Jean Powers

On Being Cool

Feb 22, 2021

If you’ve gotta think about being cool, you ain’t cool.

Keith Richards

Yesterday I spent a few hours participating in an online seminar with a school faculty. Again today, it occurs to me that teachers are some of the coolest people I know. Seriously. They don’t think about being cool. They don’t try to be cool. They just are. Cool.

A Rare Kind of Cool

A soon-to-retire teacher recently approached me with teary eyes and a huge smile. She passionately declared, “We must find ways to communicate with our students that the greatest joys in life come through serving!” That’s cool. Who thinks that way?!?! Teachers …

Creativity is cool, but it sure requires a lot of energy and time and thought. There’s a price to pay for being creative. Cool teachers know that students’ understanding and comprehension runs deeper and lasts longer if learning is reinforced creatively. Creative teachers are cool.

Another cool thing: great teachers will do anything to get their students to learn. (OK, almost anything.) They know that an occasional crazy, overtly dramatic effort can become most memorable to the kid who needs an out-of-character jolt. Teachers are willing to do that. That’s cool.

Even if you’re a bit quirky, students will think you are cool if you are fair. They can spot injustice a mile away and will not trust a teacher who shows partiality, prejudice, or is biased. It’s cool to be fair. Most teachers I know work really hard at being fair. Very cool people, those teachers.

You know what shocks me? When one of my students randomly comments, “I can’t believe how prepared you are. You care every day.” It’s gratifying to hear and shows maturity in the student. Teachers are cool because they care enough to be well-prepared Every Single Day.

Have you ever noticed that humility precedes a teachable attitude? To know that we don’t know – and to display it with our openness to learn – that’s a humble heart. Teachers always seem to be learning something. Students get excited when we discover new things with them. Learning is cool. So is humility.

The list can go on and on, heh? Cool teachers are funny, forgiving, patient, respectful, compassionate, gentle, expectant. They raise the bar and convince you that you can soar over it! They cheer you on at every attempt, comfort you at every failure, and push you to try again. Those qualities measure off the grid on the cool meter!

Responding to Teacher Coolity …

If you are presently a teacher, go to a mirror, lock eyes with yourself (awkward, I know), and say aloud, “You are one of the coolest people I know!”

If you’re a retired teacher, write a memoir for your family! Your kids and grandkids will appreciate having a documented account of your coolness: anecdotes, struggles, successes, frustrations, rescues, tears and highlights. Simultaneously, you will enjoy the walk down memory lane. Pat yourself on the back and say, “I didn’t just survive, I lived. I had a cool job … AND I made the world a better place for a lot of people.”

If you know a teacher, send them a note of encouragement or thanks, or take them a bouquet of flowers. They need it. Mention specific instances that caused them to shine! And don’t forget the teachers who made the biggest impact on your life – the ones who made you want to teach. Relay your best memories of being in their class. If you remember them fondly, they probably remember you, as well. They helped make you the cool person you are today.

If you’re thinking of joining the ranks-of-the-cool, try hanging out with some great teachers. Ask them every question that comes to mind, and if you have opportunity, visit a variety of classrooms and imagine yourself in the role of the teacher. You need models for “cool.” We all do.

It’s true. Teachers are some of the coolest people I know.

About Keep Calm and Shoot Straight

I am a teacher. You, too? I hope you love the profession as much as I do! I was 16 when I got my first teaching gigs – I had 20 private piano students and a Sunday School class of 4 and 5-year olds! At that point in my “career,” my definition of teacher was very limited. But now – after 45+ years of experience – I have come to realize that teacher can mean many different things. I’d like to share some of those insights with you! My posts will range from quotes to prayers, from cartoons to words of wisdom. Much of my teaching experience has been international, so you'll get to watch some video stories from around the globe. Jesus is the best Teacher I know, so I will be including Him in this blog, as well. I hope my thoughts and my story will encourage, provoke, and inspire you to become the teacher you’ve been created to be!

For comments, email

Recieve notifications of new blog posts

Mary Jean Powers

Mary Jean Powers

B.A. in Christian Education
M.A. in Biblical Studies
Music teacher (band and choir director, private instruction) for 35 years
International Bible teacher for 17+ years
Certified Walk Thru the Bible instructor
Certified TESL International Instructor
CEU Provider for ACSI (Association of Christian Schools International)
Certified Life Coach and Chaplain

Who am I? A teacher coming alongside teachers!