10,000 hours, 416 days, 600,000 minutes are required to become an expert in any one skill. Michael Jordan stayed on the court following a basketball game and continued to practice his jump shot for several hours. Wayne Gretzky stayed on the ice to practice 200 shots on goal following the hockey match to improve his craft. These individuals are legends, known as the best in their fields. Emily Fleming, a kindergarten teacher at Hazel Grove Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas, is one of eight finalists for the Kansas Teacher of the Year. She, like Jordan and Gretzky, is one of the best teachers in our state and I dare say our nation.
10,000 hours represents only a small fraction of the commitment teachers invest in their craft. In the same way that conductors of a large orchestra work to bring together the many sounds of the instruments to create beautiful music, teachers bring out the many talents and skills of their students, shaping them into successful adults.
It takes extraordinary commitment to become an expert in the profession of teaching. If 10,000 hours, 416 days, 600,000 minutes are required to become an expert in any one skill, consider the level of commitment when the craft is a combination of multiple essential skills. Teachers master multiple content areas including child development and instructional practices to meet the needs of culturally diverse students. They craft effective lesson plans, and scaffold from basic knowledge and recall to deep understanding and application of the content. They coach and collaborate with students and adults, craft assessments and analyze the data. Multiply each one of these skills by 10,000 hours which research finds is needed to become an expert in any one skill, and we can begin to capture the commitment and dedication it takes to be a teacher.
Congratulations Emily. You certainly deserve to be honored among the best teachers in our nation. We are so fortunate that you, and our many other exceptional teachers, are shaping the lives of children in the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools. Thank you for the commitment and service to the children of our community and for “Inspiring Excellence: Every Grownup, Every Child, Every Day.” It’s Up to Us.