“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”

Mother Theresa

Activators are those who take the big, first leap. They have influence and are often recognized as courageous risk-takers. An activator is at his/her best when taking advantage of opportunities others are missing. Often, s/he is the change agent able to move a group or a team to a better place.S/he can inspire others to act in ways that they didn’t imagine. Really great activators know when they can act before the planning is complete and when they can push others to proceed. This urgency can be perceived by others as impatience, and often, the activator is impatient. S/he doesn’t like to wait until all conditions are perfect. S/he prefers to make corrections as necessary. The energy of the activator can be contagious. S/he often plants the seeds and is then able to ask what is needed to get an idea into play.

Teachers who are activators are often those who volunteer to pilot new programs or sit on new project committees. They will be the early adopters of change and particularly quick about it when there is a direct benefit for students. As a leader, the activator is very influential among his/her colleagues.

Student activators generally have big presence in the classroom. They might be the ones who begin tasks before the directions are provided, they might be impatient or abrupt with those who “don’t get it”, and they are possibly the ones who will challenge practice and established ideas if they think they have a better way.

When working with activators it is important to expect urgency and necessary to help develop patience. Teachers and school leaders need to be clear about expectations, especially if they do not want something to begin, and they need to celebrate progress frequently throughout a process to keep the activator engaged.

When you need to get a ball rolling, you want an activator on your team.