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What Great Teachers Do Differently: 14 Things That Matter Most 1st Edition
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More About the Author
Prior to moving into higher education he was a math teacher and basketball coach in Missouri. Todd then served as a principal at the middle school, junior high, and high school levels. He was also a middle school coordinator in charge of staffing, curriculum, and technology for the opening of new middle schools.
One of the nation's leading authorities on staff motivation, teacher leadership, and principal effectiveness, Todd has written over 35 books including the national best seller, What Great Teachers Do Differently. Other titles include: Shifting The Monkey, Dealing With Difficult Teachers, 10 Minute Inservice, The Ball, What Great Principals Do Differently, Motivating & Inspiring Teachers, and Dealing With Difficult Parents.
Todd is married to Beth, also a former teacher and principal, who is a professor of Elementary Education at Indiana State University. They are the parents of three children; Katherine, Madeline, and Harrison.
Top Customer Reviews
On almost every page, there are practical ideas, different ways of perceiving issues and their solutions, and fodder for continued discussion. For example, Whitaker reminds principals that the key to successful schools is not so much its newly added programs as it is the people running the school itself -- faculty and staff. For a lot of school leaders who are so mired in finding the next big fix for their problems and keep looking at new programs and configurations, this section of his book is the catalyst they need to start focusing on the development and experiences of teachers and staff -- if they truly want to affect positive change. Sure, it's common sense and, if we've been in education long enough we've seen some of the ideas before (which we can say about every single education book out there!), but many of us in education are overloaded with burdens and anxiety and sometimes we can't see as clearly as Whitaker enables us to see. Heck, if books only contained ideas outside of common sense, there wouldn't be many books. That's often what speaks to readers. We need a reminder of common sense seen through fresh and insightful eyes, which is exactly what Whitaker provides throughout this book.
Not everything in Whitaker's book is based on just common sense.Read more ›
The first is to focus on our best students. That is to say, consider how we treat them and then treat all students the same way. This works in several ways that I'd never considered before.
The author gave the anecdote of students in that hallway during class. How do we treat our best students? How do we treat the others? If I greet my troublemakers with suspicion, this does not help them become better students. It simply reaffirms their status.
Similarly, if a student complains that I shouldn't give homework assignments at the end of class because she isn't paying attention, is this a complaint to take seriously? On the other hand, if a student who is really trying is having trouble with something, doesn't that mean I need to evaluate my practice?
As I said, this single idea was very eye opening.
The second idea that opened my eyes was that "perception is reality." In other words, I am in control of my day. I can perceive that I have no control over my problems in the classroom and that I can't change things. On the other hand, I could decide that if I work at it enough I can make a change and have a good classroom. The latter is more likely to achieve success.
Similarly, I can spread productivity and hope or I can drag my colleagues (and students) down into despair.
"How is your day?" "Rotten. The kids are horrible"
"How is your day?" "It's going well. I think I have some new ideas to try with my Physics class."
One of these leads to solutions, the other just spreads the unpleasantness.
Though repetitive, this is a good book. It is not filled with pearls from the Ivory Tower. Rather, it is filled with practical thinking and ideas from people who have been teachers.
At 128 pp., this is a thin book. As each of the 16 chapters is separated by two or three blank pages (well, one of these pages includes the title of the chapter), then it's really well below 100 pp. This is one reason I deduct from the book's value as a purchase. I think teachers can read much of the same material, for instance, in Robyn Jackson's NEVER WORK HARDER THAN YOUR STUDENTS. Jackson distills her principles to seven (half the number of Whitaker's), but provides much more background, anecdotal material, and concrete ideas to accompany the abstract ideas forwarded.
What's more, a lot of material in this book is targeted toward principals (Whitaker was one himself). This is not inherently bad, as principals and teachers must work closely together, but because Whitaker has also written WHAT GREAT PRINCIPALS DO DIFFERENTLY and also travels the country for speaking engagements (contact info is provided at book's end), it begins to smack a bit of commercialism and reheated goods.
Still, I maintain Whitaker's advice is sound. This book is best suited for readers who want a "Readers' Digest Abridged" type approach, or to new teachers, or to teachers who have little experience and/or have read few if any books for professional development. If you're not under one of those demographics, you can probably pass on this -- a good book -- and purchase an even better one. Happily, there are many out there!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Great Read! I needed for a class and it does not seem like a textbook at allPublished 15 days ago by megpez14
I loved this book, and I bought three, one for my grandson, who will be an ag teacher, and the other two for ladies who are already teaching. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Doug Johnson
Take your pick between this book and What Great Principals Do Differently because it's pretty much the same book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Courtney Fair
I'm always anxious for helpful hints in education and the insight of a professional, thanks for providing
both in this well written account.
Be positive, be respectful to everyone and take responsibility. That's about all there is to this book.Published 13 months ago by Timothy M. Brown