What Great Teachers Do Differently

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.

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!

This post contains affiliate links, which simply means that when you use my link and purchase a product, I receive a small commission. There is no additional cost to you, and I only link to books and products that I personally use and recommend.

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!

26 Comments

  1. Mona

    Hi Donna,

    I am always inspired by your thoughts and the books that you pass our way. I can’t wait to read this.

    Mona
    First Grade Schoolhouse

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks! I can’t wait for my books to come in. 🙂

      Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      I’m ready to read all 14!

      Reply
  2. K8 in VA

    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.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Well, of COURSE you did! I could totally see myself doing that.

      Reply
  3. Kate

    I would love to read this! Adding it to my amazon wish list!
    ☼ Kate
    To The Square Inch

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

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

      Reply
  4. Leka DeGroot

    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:)

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      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. 🙂

      Reply
  5. Leka DeGroot

    oops! I didn’t spell your name right! Sorry, Donna!

    Reply
  6. Lee Calton

    I just ordered…can’t wait for it to arrive!!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

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

      Reply
  7. Jennifer Carrico

    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!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      I totally agree, Jennifer!

      Reply
  8. Dana Lester

    I get to go to a one day conference with him in 2 weeks! Looking forward to it even more after reading this post!
    Dana
    Common to the Core

    Reply
  9. Tchur8

    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!!!

    Reply
  10. Love2cre8

    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.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Welcome!! This book is phenomenal. I hope you find lots more useful stuff on my blog. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Wendy MacWilliam

    I just saw this post and have ordered his books, can’t wait for them to arrive.

    Reply
  12. bbnwtex

    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!!!!

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Wow, how lucky is your district?! What an amazing way to start a new school year. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Diane Bonebrake

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

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

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

      Reply
  14. Nancy

    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.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      I absolutely agree with you! Such a valuable resource. 🙂

      Reply

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