Posted by: principalsintraining | August 8, 2013

Everybody Needs a #Hypeman


We all have a soundtrack to our lives – the songs that we associate with the places and experiences that mark us, that made us.  They are embedded in our memory, as tangible as a taste or smell.  One of the most indelible voices for me from the late 80’s to early 90’s – Flavor Flav of Public Enemy – resonates even stronger with me today in the work I do as an assistant principal.  Why?  Because there’s no way to get the party started without a proper hype man!

Hyping means a few things.  On one level, the concept of a hype man means being the person helping someone else spread their unique thoughts, perspectives, talents, and contributions to a larger audience – while at the same time energizing the audience with their own spark and voice.  Hype men play second fiddle in the structure of the band, but they aren’t mindless cyphers – after all, Flavor Flav is probably more widely recognized than his lead man Chuck D.  They are color commentators, adding perspective to what is said or done, providing context to what we in the audience are seeing and hearing.  They are a filter and a magnifying glass.  (They also give their captains a second or two to catch their breath between verses)

Wikipedia quotes music writer Mickey Hess as saying that the hype man “plays a central but supporting role within the group.”  Let’s allow those words to sink in…”Central, but supporting” – oh yeah!  Are all the leaders in the house hearing this?  No, really…are you hearing this?  If you’re hearing this, let me hear you say heeeyyyy!!! (1989 flashback – please excuse…)

So what do hype men the world ’round have to teach us in education?

Leaders: you often occupy center stage, but the work is not about you.  Be central and supportive in the service of learning, building a positive culture, and practicing healthy conflict – for the sake of the kids, the adults, and yourselves!

Teachers: you have a captive audience in your classrooms every day.  Be central and supportive in the role of helping your students have a meaningful say in their education – both what they learn and how they learn it.  What greater legacy can you leave than knowing you helped fire a kid up about the beauty of knowledge, and the power of being able to do something with it in the world?  (Rhetorical question; nothing is greater!)

Students: it’s time to get fired up about creating your own learning.  We need to get past the tired-out expression of “getting an education” and think of your experience in school as a chance to get to know yourself on a deeper level while making a contribution to the world.  School is the real world.  It’s not fake.  You’re not waiting on anything.  And the incredible thing is that you are surrounded by peers doing the same – it’s a relief to know that it’s not all about you.  Some of your peers will rank amongst the greatest teachers you’ll ever have – and vice versa!  

Everybody needs and deserves a hype man.  We need to build and sustain a spirit of mutual hyping – on our campuses, and beyond.  So what are some things I’ll be hyping this year?

1) My school.  Here’s one way we’re going to “bring the noise,” with social media as the bullhorn – er – mic.

2) Education worldwide.  Despite all the hating on Big Ed, isn’t it incredible to think that our daily work continues to improve a free and public service that touches the lives of millions of people?  The profession needs to have the most creative, adaptive thinkers join the ranks so that their students live every day feeling hyped about making a positive mark on the world.  (Hint – those creative, adaptive thinkers are the ones we’re staring at in our classrooms right now!)

3) Twitter – all aboard!  It’s fun to watch Scotty beam people here and there in Star Trek – until that technology comes along, let Twitter do the beaming.  The result?  We get hyped up by meeting brilliant people all over the globe.

4) Camaraderie.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: working in an organization means that conflict is inevitable.  Rather than ducking and diving to avoid it, invite it out into the open and let people tell their stories.  Being friends is great, but camaraderie goes beyond being friends; it’s about invigorating a community with a sense of belonging to a greater cause.

To be your school’s hype man, there’s just one thing you must do: Believe (and Be) the Hype!



  1. Wait…so now I’m supposed to believe the HYPE!! All those years of not believing…I like this post for so many reasons. You address admin, teachers, students, and use Flavor Flav and Chuck D as your frontmen. I think I am kind of the Hype man on my campus but sometimes people just look at me like I’m actually wearing a giant clock around my neck? Like I’m a little bit crazy. What’s a Hype man to do in that situation? Do we just keep hyping? I mean, we believe, so I guess it’s just part of who we are. Can’t stop, won’t stop. Thanks for your post.

    • I’m honored to have you read and reflect on this. As Hype Wo/Men we just need to accept the crazy looks. My favorite comment EVER that a student signed in another kid’s yearbook: “Remember all those times when Mr. Saibel would make all his jokes, and no one would laugh, and it was SO funny?” Yep, exactly. When what we do stuns people into THINKING then I guess we’re on the right path. Many thanks again for your kind words and I’m excited to share your awesome blog with my peeps. Where’s my clock?

      • Ha! I actually tell my students to pretend my jokes are funny and pretend they are laughing!! I actually think it’s working because we have been having a bunch if fun and laughs this year!! Thanks for checking out my beginner blog!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s



Mercedes Schneider's EduBlog

Diane Ravitch's blog

A site to discuss better education for all

Laurie Hailer

exploring best practices in Algebra 2

Just Trying to be Better Than Yesterday difficult can that be?

Mr. Anderson Reads & Writes

A blog about teaching, education, and professional life


Amy's Whimsical Musings

Special Needs Teaching and Education

Inclusive teaching, education and resources.

Mostly True Stories of K. Renae P.

My Adventures in Teaching and Learning

Scenes From The Battleground

Teaching in British schools

Belmont Teach

...our directory of excellence

Infinitely Curious

Perspectives on learning from across the Hall Middle community

Project-Based Life

Rethinking the way we look at the school/life intersection.


education-leadership-bikes-cartoons and other randomness

Dr. Neil Gupta

Educational Leader | Design Thinker | Instructional Coach

The Underdog's Advocate

A school leadership guide to success in the modern classroom

Learning & Leading

Life and Leadership w/ Two Married Administrators

Journeys in Ed

By @TravisPhelps80

The Connected Educators Hotspot

Educational Leadership in the 21st


skins of ill shaped fishes

technolandy: site of Ian Landy blog to support technologization

Models By Design

Models speak louder than words


Broadcasting and Farming Ideas

About Teaching

An Assistant Principal in an Australian Primary School

Where sharing mistakes is okay. in fact it's encouraged.

Educational Musings of a (former) Music Educator

My reflections on teaching & learning on my path through the education system.

the édu flâneuse

"For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate observer, it's an immense pleasure to take up residence in multiplicity, in whatever is seething, moving, evanescent and infinite: you're not at home, but you feel at home everywhere, you're at the centre of everything yet you remain hidden from everybody." Baudelaire

Principal Powers' Principles

A place for my thoughts and ideas

Adjusting Course

Responding to the Needs of the 21st Century Student

Not Yet

I never could get the hang of Thursdays

Happy Impermanence

Life change is inevitable. It's how you show up that matters.

Welcome to the Music Club

Music Takes You on Journeys

Ross Cooper's Blog

Just another site

Ideas Out There


Fisticuffs and Shenanigans

It was all fun and games, until the fisticuffs and shenanigans... -Deutschmarc

Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension


True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?


A painter's diary of life in the rugged North West of Ireland

There is no box

thinking out loud about technology, teaching and life

Karen Blumberg

Technology is special.

Embark For Progress

One woman's perspective on living, teaching, and developing a profession.

Heutagogy Community of Practice

Advancing the Theory and Practice of Self-Determined Learning

Granted, and...

thoughts on education by Grant Wiggins

%d bloggers like this: