No Label Teaching

I was reading a devotional a few weeks ago, and I came across a reading that really resonated with me. It made me think about what is often done to students in schools. In our profession, students are often sorted and labeled based on their achievements, appearance, activities, or abilities. The phrases “those kids” or “these families” instead of “our kids” and “our families” are often used when describing students who are underprivileged.

Unfortunately, students who are underprivileged are often viewed as a problem that needs to be fixed or addressed by somebody else; however, the somebody has not been identified by the people closest to the need. Oftentimes, the somebody is the person who is looking outward for someone else to identify and address the student’s needs. When we signup to be educators in public school, we do not get to pick and choose what comes through our doors. A child’s zip code should not determine the quality of education they receive.

Screenshot 2016-09-03 21.55.31As educators, the only thing we can pick and choose is our attitude, our dedication, and the amount of determination we will pour into “our students” and “our families.” We are the somebody’s who will help our students see the possibles. We must remove the boundaries and labels that others have put on our students. Labels become impossibles. No label teachers see every child as if they were their own personal children. No label teachers are committed to student growth, regardless of where the starting point may be. No label teachers seek to find the possible in every child and are committed to helping them become their best possible self.

Labels are useful when sorting items, organizing groceries or sorting laundry. Labels are necessary for organizing our time, our things and our activities; however, labels for people quickly turn into impossibles (Martin, 2013). No label teachers don’t see impossibles. No label teachers are committed to finding a way to reach every child because every child is someone else’s whole world. Every student who walks through our doors are “OUR KIDS” and they should mean the whole world to us!

By saneebell

Dr. Sanée Bell is the principal of Morton Ranch Junior High in Katy, TX. She has served as an administrator since 2005 at both the elementary and secondary levels. Sanée was recognized as the 2015 Katy ISD Elementary Principal of the Year. Prior to becoming an administrator, Sanée taught middle school and high school English and also coached girls basketball. She earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Houston Clear Lake, where she currently serves as an adjunct professor. Sanée is passionate about authentic, purposeful learning for students and teachers, and also has a strong passion for leadership and its impact on teacher engagement, student learning and school culture. Sanée recognizes her impact as a leader and uses her role to inspire, motivate, and empower others. Sanée has presented at local, state, and national conferences, and has written publications and several guest blog posts focused on leadership and its impact on students and teachers. Sanée shares her thoughts on leadership on her blog and via Twitter @SaneeBell.

18 replies on “No Label Teaching”

Your students and teachers are blessed to have such a wonderful role model that sees through their tough skin to the heart! I was one of the lucky teachers who had the privilege to work with you!


Well stated… I was one of those kids, growing up poor and on the wrong side of the tracks, my teachers were awesome at assuming we all had a good shot at a future of success. I never questioned going to college because they never questioned it… and I was average, not gifted so they truly just taught us all. I never thought about it until I read this article. Thanks! Time to look up some old teachers and thank them too!


I retired after 32 years as an elementary teacher – 18 yrs. in 5th grade & 14 yrs. in K/1st grade. (I was also the first ever male teacher hired at that elementary – but that’s a lot of other stories to be told later). The students who walked through my door at the beginning of the year, ALWAYS became “MY KIDS” from that moment on – no matter what their background was (again, lots of experiences I’d like to share). You are absolutely right, labels destroy the dreams kids have, and the true teacher will provide a safe, positive, compassionate environment before he/she ever begins to teach “his/her kids”. 😊


You are phenomenal. I thank you, not for who you are and what you stand for but for who you help me, your grandmother, to see and become after I have been touched by you. May God continue to bless you, Sanee. You are a priceless gem. I love you, so.


Sanee- this article was recommended to me by a fellow Principal here in LCISD. When I opened it, I saw your name! You go girl! Proud that you were my first mentor in KISD when I got my Master’s!


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