Monday, February 15, 2010

Teaching Books: What Great Teachers Do Differently by Todd Whitaker

[I'm not going to try to review the books I'm reading as part of my transition to becoming an educator. However, I do want to at least do summaries, both for myself and if anyone's interested. Consider these mini-reviews, if you will.]

Another book recommended by my former boss. Mr. Whitaker puts the focus on 14 areas that he feels a teacher can have an impact on in his or her classroom. Instead of stressing the negative, Whitaker talks about what the teacher personally can do to make things better. This includes shunning those who only are pessimistic/sarcastic in the faculty lounge and meetings, never letting students feel like you are negative, and approaching things from a constructive, rather than destructive perspective.

While acknowledging the challenges teachers face, Whitaker argues that looking internally rather than blaming externally, can lead to positive change. There is a strong sense of personal responsibility, from dealing with students and parents to setting expectations in the classroom. Approaching problems with a "how can I make this better for all" rather than "what can I do t make this easier on me" attitude is the key, Whitaker says, to being a great teacher.

Last point of note is Whitaker argues for teaching to the best and raising everyone up, rather than just teaching to average. He also mentions being careful not to single out students, even for good things.

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