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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 2, 2001
This book very beneficial not only for principals but also for teachers who want to change their negative behavior and improve their quality of teaching. For principals, it is very proper to take advantage of the author's fruitful experiences and apply what works in their schools considering difficult teachers. Moreover, for all types of teachers, it is a great opportunity to enhance themselves and improve their behavior to be labeled as superstar teachers.
In fact, it would not be fair if I preferred some ideas and suggestions to others because the book is metaphorically a pearl. Whitaker's book addresses valuable suggestions that can be used as powerful tools to improve schools, teachers, and students. First and foremost, if my ultimate goal, as a principal, was to do what is best for students and the school, I would have to ask myself these questions (Pp. 13-14): What is my true purpose in implementing this rule or policy? Will it actually accomplish this purpose? How will my positive and productive staff feel about this policy? If I am able to be as detached, realistic, and credible as possible when I answer these questions, I would never feel guilty.
In addition, the book provides other great suggestions, which can be applied to any school system, for dealing with difficult staff members as follows: Strategies to help counteract resistant and difficult teachers; improve teachers' cooperation; avoid arguing and struggling with difficult teachers; be respectful to other teachers; create productive and effective changes in the school; give difficult teachers some responsibilities to improve their behavior; involve effective teachers in decision-making; and reduce negative-leaders' influences by weakening their followers.
Finally, I would reiterate the author, as he states on (p. X), "this book is designed for the most frustrating, resistant, and negative staff in the school." However, to achieve what we, the school's administration, are planning, we MUST work collectively as hard as we possibly can.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2000
Todd Whitaker has an understanding of the school system and its personnel, and is able to convey this understanding in terms that are easy to read. This book offers great suggestions for dealing with personnel that set back the goals of the school system. The points made by Whitaker are not only useful to practicing principals, but are just as important to peers of "difficult teachers".
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on November 13, 2001
In Dealing With Difficult Teachers, education administrator Todd Whitaker draws upon his many years of professional experience and expertise to provide school superintendents and building principles with non-confrontational and guilt-free strategies for handling teachers with performance and personality issues. This compendium on practical and effective advice addresses teachers who gossip in the teacher's lounge; who consistently dismiss any new idea; who send excessive numbers of students to the principal's office for disciplinary reasons; who undermine administrative efforts toward school improvement; as well as those who negatively influence other teaching and student services staff members school. Dealing With Difficult Teachers is an essential addition to educational administration reference collections and "must" reading for anyone charged with supervisory responsibilities for classroom instructors and teaching staff morale.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on June 11, 2006
Indiana State Professor of Educational Leadership Dr. Todd Whitaker wrote the book Dealing with Difficult Teachers (published in 2002) as a guide for principals dealing with difficult teachers. The book is priced at $29.95 and has and ISBN number of 1-930556-45-4. Dr. Whitaker, a former middle school and high school principal in Missouri, provides an even mix of fundamental theories and anecdotes in the 184-page book that draws largely on his professional experience.

Dr. Whitaker advocates to principals to carefully evaluate teachers in their school, believing that teacher behavior has an enormous impact on students over time. The methods proposed in the book are grounded in common sense, but require a strong instructional leader to execute. Whitaker promotes the belief that the principal is the most decisive element in the effectiveness of a school. Principals that take responsibility for their school��s successes and failures lead productive schools, while principals that blame outside factors work for under-achieving schools.

Teachers are assigned the ��difficult�� title for fitting one or more of the following reasons: 1) they are ineffective classroom teachers, 2) they have a negative influence on the staff and/or 3) they create a negative perception in the community. Principals are given the responsibility of changing the behavior of difficult staff members. Dr. Whitaker mentions several finer points that principals must learn when working to change behavior in difficult teachers. (Listed below)

h Be professional. Principals should use methods that would be acceptable if the rest of the staff was watching.

h Create the expectation that difficult staff members should want to do what is right. Assume they want to do what is right when communicating with them.

h Do not give difficult teachers power. Do give them responsibility.

h Create a positive school environment that makes negative teachers feel uncomfortable. Being uncomfortable can be the impetus for change.

h Arrange meetings with difficult staff members on your own terms. Meet in their classroom instead of your office and provide little prior notice.

h Stay on message with difficult staff members that attempt to argue. Do not engage in a power struggle with difficult teachers in front of your staff.

Dealing with Difficult Teachers is an excellent resource for educators considering a career in school leadership. Negative, ineffective teachers unfortunately are a part of most schools. Dr. Whitaker provides methods for dealing with difficult teachers that are easy to remember and able to be performed if principals commit themselves to establishing a positive school environment.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2001
In Dealing With Difficult Teachers, education administrator Todd Whitaker draws upon his many years of professional experience and expertise to provide school superintendents and building principles with non-confrontational and guilt-free strategies for handling teachers with performance and personality issues. This compendium on practical and effective advice addresses teachers who gossip in the teacher's lounge; who consistently dismiss any new idea; who send excessive numbers of students to the principal's office for disciplinary reasons; who undermine administrative efforts toward school improvement; as well as those who negatively influence other teaching and student services staff members school. Dealing With Difficult Teachers is an essential addition to educational administration reference collections and "must" reading for anyone charged with supervisory responsibilities for classroom instructors and teaching staff morale.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 25, 2010
Every principal and employer will deal with difficult employees at some point. Todd Whitaker's book is an easy read with great suggestions on handling many situations. With many of the examples, experienced principals will find themselves associating various teacher names. It not only instructs how to deal with difficult teachers but it also develops an image of how the principal should behave, respond and professionally handle situations. I purchased the book for a friend who will be a first year principal.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Everyone is different. We all know that. This book takes it to another level. It defines the commonalities and the differences amongst educators. A great resource that was recommended by my college prof. Use it to better understand yourself and your relationship with others. How do you deal with those mediocre teachers? How should you treat your superstar teachers? Answers to these two simple questions and so much more are compiled into this wonderful book. Everyone is different. Even you. Now, how do you learn to accept and treat others with respect? Read the book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 14, 2014
Let me start by saying that I am a believer in Todd Whitaker. Consistently from book to book, Whitaker delivers essential survival tips for all leaders in education with his no-nonsense approach; <i>Dealing with Difficult Teachers</i> is another winner from Whitaker's collection.

Whitaker's thesis is essentially this: Because school leaders are often not taught to deal with difficult teachers in their leadership programs, and because new leaders often step into schools rife with ineffective teachers and a harmful environment, they must be given advice on how to use a number of methods (what Whitaker calls the "shotgun approach") in order to achieve one of the following results: 1. Make difficult teachers more effective, often through making them uncomfortable; 2. Minimize their influence on other teachers, especially newer staff members; and/or 3. Find ways to remove the difficult teacher from the school.

One prevailing adage that Whitaker uses throughout the book is this: Always assume that difficult teachers want to do what is right. If leaders treat teachers with this assumption, and act professionally in all interactions with them, the leaders will earn the respect of the other staff and can feel they did everything they could to rectify the situation.

One other message Whitaker makes loud and clear throughout the book: always do right by the students. All decisions school leaders make will have an impact on the learning environment. If a teacher is not helping the students, they are hurting them. There is no place in a school for difficult teachers; holding onto them too long, or letting their negativity influence the rest of the staff, can destroy whatever positive impact on the school the leader is trying to impart. The wisdom found in this book will provide school leaders with helpful advice for improving the school.

<i>Dealing with Difficult Teachers</i> is as vital a book as any that I have read in the education leadership genre, and one that I know I will revisit often as I continue my career in education.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 16, 2013
As an instructional coach, I have the opportunity to work with many dedicated teachers. I am sad to say, I have to work with difficult teachers as well. This book offers sound advice and strategies for administrators and coaches who are trying to advance change in a school, but are receiving push back from the vocal minority.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2011
This book is an excellent resource for school leaders. It is down to earth, timely and practical. I highly recommend this to anyone who works in schools.
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