Never Work Harder Than Your Students - Pre Club Discussion

I am so excited about the interest in this book that I couldn't wait to throw a few "thought-provoking" questions out there? I have to admit that I am not sure exactly what the components of a master teacher are.... so here is what comes to my mind initially.


The introduction of the book makes the following statement: Any teacher can become a master teacher with the right kind of practice. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
1. What do you believe is a "master teacher?" How do teachers become master teachers?
2. What is the difference between a master teacher and a typical teacher?
3. Which of the seven principles resonates with you most? Why?

I am eager to get the book to learn the difference, to see where I am , and to see where I can go!!! Any thoughts?

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Chris,

I absolutely LOVE this book and am glad you posted. (Next I hope to read The Active Teacher by Nash.)

Regarding the assertion that "any teacher can become a master teacher with the right kind of practice":
I agree (and am SO glad the author is promoting the idea) with one exception: The teacher probably needs to be a well-adjusted adult. I've met a few strange adults and it seemed that their personality and/or mannerisms were the issue, not some inherent inability to grow. I am open to the possibility of being wrong regarding the matter, but just from personal observation it seems that some mannerisms or personalities turn the students off and make building a good rapport and establishing connections really difficult. Other than that, I think ANY teacher who is growing can become a master teacher, and that is such a relief! I'm trying to get there!

1-2. I believe that a master teacher is a teacher who can
• meet the students where they are at
• get the students to build the classroom into a supportive, learning community
• inspire students to develop for and within themselves a love of learning
• help students develop within themselves habits of mind (see http://www.habitsofmind.net/, for example)
• foster student learning towards mastery and long-term retention of subject matter
• teach students how to fail forward if/when they fail
I imagine that the difference between a master teacher and a typical teacher is: insight, aims, resources, relational skills, and to some extent, experience.

3. I feel that improving in just about all of the author’s principles will help me so much! But . . . if I had to choose one principle to start with, it would be Principle Four: Support students along the way. The topics the author addresses in this chapter are SO powerful: 1) set up an intervention plan before students need it, 2) anticipate confusion, 3) pinpoint confusion and uncover misconceptions, 4) demystify the process, 5) gradually remove supports as students improve, and 6) support the learning of students who have already mastered the learning goals.

P.S. I also thought that the author’s discussion (pp. 30-53) about students’ classroom currencies and capital was absolutely critical.

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