Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"What Great Teachers Do Differently!"

In preparation for an online class that a colleague and I will be teaching, I was given the opportunity to revisit a book from my Educational Specialists program. The book is titled "What Great Teachers Do Differently" and it is by Todd Whitaker. He takes the time to discuss and analyze what makes a GREAT teacher different from their colleagues. At the end of his book he has a list of the 14 things that he views matter the most when it comes to a great teacher. As I reflect back upon my teaching (and not to pump myself up) I must say that I am indeed a GREAT teacher! I surround myself with other GREAT teachers. Their greatness rubs off on me and my greatness rubs off on them....After reading this list, reflect on whether or not you are a GREAT teacher! Do you have areas of opportunity that you can improve upon?

“Fourteen Things That Matter Most”

  1. Great teachers never forget that it is people, not programs, that determine the quality of a school.
  2. Great teachers establish clear expectations at the start of the year and follow them consistently as the year progresses.
  3. When a student misbehaves, great teachers have one goal: to keep that behavior from happening again.
  4. Great teachers have high expectations for students but even higher expectations for themselves.
  5. Great teachers know who the variable in the classroom is: They are. Good teachers consistently strive to improve, and they focus on something they can control-their own performance.
  6. Great teachers create a positive atmosphere in their classrooms and schools. They treat every person with respect. In particular, they understand the power of praise.
  7. Great teachers consistently filter out the negatives that don’t matter and share a positive attitude.
  8. Great teachers work hard to keep their relationships in good repair-to avoid personal hurt and to repair any possible damage.
  9. Great teachers have the ability to ignore trivial disturbances and the ability to respond to inappropriate behavior without escalating the situation.
  10. Great teachers have a plan and purpose for everything they do. If things don’t work out the way they had envisioned, they reflect on what they could have done differently and adjust their plans accordingly.
  11. Before making any decision or attempting to bring about any change, great teachers ask themselves on central question: What will the best people think?
  12. Great teachers continually ask themselves who is most comfortable and who is least comfortable with each decision they make. They treat everyone as if they were good.
  13. Great teachers keep standardized testing in perspective; they center on the real issue of student learning.
  14. Great teachers care about their students. They understand that behaviors and beliefs are tied to emotion, and they understand the power of emotion to jump-start change.

~Todd Whitaker

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