What Great Teachers Do Differently

I was first introduced to Todd Whitaker at CAMT back in 2012. I suspected I was in for a treat when the line to get in the auditorium was around the corner and down the hall 30 minutes before his session started!

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The title of his presentation was What Great Teachers Do Differently. It was fast-paced and hilarious! I mean this guy could seriously be a stand-up comic. In between all the jokes, though, he was very thought-provoking. Some of the points I really liked:

  • If kids come to us lacking something (social skills, behavior management, etc.), we can either whine about it or fix it.
  • In a great teacher’s classroom, nothing happens randomly. Everything is intentional.
  • Great teachers have the ability to ignore.  Ignore does not mean empathize, criticize, or roll your eyes.
  • Great teachers accept responsibility.

But probably my favorite thought of the day was his 10-Days-Out-of-10 rule, which basically states that every student deserves to be treated with dignity and respect every day. Period. Along with that, he listed 3 things that have absolutely no place in a school environment:

  1. arguing
  2. yelling
  3. sarcasm

I purchased his book right after the conference and devoured it! He published the 3rd Edition in 2020, and it’s on my reading list for this summer. I’ll call it my 10 Year Refresher Course!

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  1. Believe it or not I took “the 14” on winter vacation to Mexico this past school year. I read it one day by the pool and it recharged me as much as the whole vacation. I’m excited to know that there’s a new sedition and will look it up today.

    1. Yeah, see, that “Buy Now With 1-Click” button is above the “Add to Wish List” button. It gets me every time!

  2. Hi, Sonna. Todd Whitaker came to my school last year. He is so inspiring. It was a great way to kick off the school year with a positive mind-set. I will definitely buy this book so that I can get pumped up about the up-coming school year. Thanks for sharing! Are you following him on Twitter? He is such a fun person to follow:)

    1. I must confess that I don’t tweet. Although, he did make a strong case for it during his presentation! I may have to make the leap. 🙂

    1. You will LOVE it! I might read it again over the Christmas break to renew myself for the second half of the year. 🙂

  3. I have seen him too. He is a fantastic speaker and very thought provoking. I wish EVERY teacher could hear him and read his books!

  4. OK… your post hooked me…line and sinker…have put it in my wish list for summer reading. If you recommended…it’s got to be good! Wish our district would have inservicess with speakers…we really need something like this. It’s been years. Thanks for sharing!!!

  5. Although I am new to your site, I have been teaching for a long time. I am so impressed by all the resources and ideas. I continue to love learning and “stumbling” into your corner has inspired me, although I think it’s going to cost me! 🙂 I will be ordering some books, and TPT materials! Thanks, and I will continue to check back often.

  6. Todd Whitaker came to Frenship Independent School District on the Friday before school started. I loved his practical advice and his comical delivery. He is a great advocate for children – 10 out of 10 has been my mantra. So glad you shared about him!!!!

  7. Thanks for re-posting this! I love Whitaker’s books, his ideas, and his challenges! Great way to start the new year!

    1. I totally agree with you, Diane. I don’t often reread books, but this one needs to come off the shelf frequently.

  8. My administration gave each teacher this book before school started. We discuss it each month at our faculty workshop meetings. It’s a an easy read and I think education students in college should have to read it. It’s great for new teachers and even experienced teachers would certainly benefit.

  9. Thank you Donna!

    Love these tips… I feel like there’s something there I could use…

    How could I apply this to tutoring 1-on-1, upper level math (5th – 12th)?

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