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Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  772 ratings  ·  85 reviews
If it ever feels like teaching is just too much hard work, here's a guide that helps you develop a more fluid and automatic way to respond to students and deliver great teaching experiences every time. Using a short set of basic principles and classroom examples that promote reflection, Robyn R. Jackson explains how to develop a master teacher mindset.
Paperback, 247 pages
Published January 30th 2009 by Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (first published 2009)
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Laura
Oct 04, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: school, nonfiction
I trudged through this book. It was truly a matter of soldiering on through.

I read this book as part of a group study for school. I highlighted and commented for several chapers when I discovered that the book was on loan. Now I have to buy a new copy for the district. And I don't even like the book!

I understand where the author is coming from. The problem is that I don't agree with her underlying philosophies. The title is Never Work Harder than Your Students but, on page 74 she talks about spe
...more
Carrie G
Jul 25, 2012 rated it liked it
“Never Work Harder Than Your Students” is just one of the seven “master teacher “principles outlined in this book by Dr. Robyn R. Jackson. The complete set of principles is:

1) Start where your students are.

2) Know where your students are going.

3) Expect to get your students to their goal.

4) Support your students along the way.

5) Use feedback to help you and your students get better.

6) Focus on quality rather than quantity.

7) Never work harder than your students.

While a self-assessment at the beg
...more
Ken
Aug 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Practical stuff of a more no-nonsense, conservative bent, but even for this liberal Rousseau-style teacher a lot of the points hit home. Jackson delineates seven principles that can turn you into a master teacher (though not overnight, trust me). Yes, there were a few holes and a few contradictions in her arguments, but overall it was an impressive kid- and learning-oriented display. The real treat is when she shares transcripts from presentations (on this very material) before teachers who shoo ...more
Lynnie
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: professional
Honestly didn’t find it moving. 2.5 stars
Kelsey
Jan 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite teacher book I’ve read so far. It helped me completely plan my next unit in a much more strategic way for students. I wish I could have read this earlier on, but I’ve taught for 10 and a half years now and this is still a great help!
Claudia
I was drawn to the title, because I often say I shouldn't be the one working hard in class, 'cause I've already learned this...the hard work of learning is STUDENTS' jobs.

That said, Jackson goes much deeper...she distills master teachers practices down to 7 principles...I like that idea, since we can organize everything we do around those principles and values: Start where your students are; know where they're going; expect to get your students there; support students; use effective feedback; fo
...more
Relyn
Apr 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: teachers
Recommended to Relyn by: Barbara St. Clair
for at school book club

5/20/11
Confession time, I didn't finish this book. The end of the school year craziness just got too crazy. We're going to do the book club again early next year. I plan to finish this then.

7/21/13
I am catching up and cleaning up my Goodreads. That means adding dates to forgotten books. Somehow I never got back to this one. As I recall, she had great thought and ideas, but wasn't a very engaging writer. That happens a lot with teacher books, but I don't seem to be willing
...more
P Bright
Jun 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Many chapters in this book felt labored and confusing. Sometimes the author's voice was simply too smug and the teachers she worked with were sometimes portrayed as simpletons. However, a few chapters were quite good. The one about evaluations I found particularly good. A colleague emerged from her recent evaluation post-interview crying. I wish she could have had someone go through this chapter with her before the observation because I know last year was also a very negative experience. She is ...more
Jessica
Jul 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
Lots of great ideas about how to think smarter about teaching, and it even includes some concrete ideas for implementing these principles. Since I'm a new teacher who's just glad to have survived her first year, the book was overwhelming because there is SO much I need to improve on. After another year or two, I'll be able to think about this book a little more systematically.
Kaleigh Gibbons
Mar 19, 2017 rated it liked it
This book was okay. I liked her 7 principles and the way she anticipated objections ("Yes, but...") within the chapters. There are definitely things I will take away from this book! However, the title is a bit of a misnomer. You'll most definitely be working harder than your students, but it will all be upfront. It's really "Never Work Harder Than Your Students During Classtime".
Nikki
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, teaching
I read this as part of a group read for my school. It was fine; she had a few nice ideas, but she didn't really go into too much detail. At times I felt like she was "talking down" to her reader and her style was lacking. I'll take away a couple of ideas from this book, but I don't think I'll be using much from her.
Tara Katz
May 08, 2019 rated it liked it
It’s not a good title and not reflective of what’s in the book. As a veteran teacher I thought it was a straightforward and succinct overview of good teaching practices. I would recommend this to those new to the field and tell them to ignore the title because good teaching is a ton of work.
Joel
Mar 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: professional
I wish I'd skipped the Marzano book and read this one first. Logical, bite-sized steps to improve how I do what I do, and good tools to get it done.
Sarah
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nice layout to assess where you're at as an instructor, what's basic teaching and concrete examples of how to improve your teaching. Focus on engagement, student driven activities and feedback.
Mary
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a well written book that kept the reader engaged with the information provided. The author makes it clear that learning to be a master teacher is a process and takes work and time. It does not happen overnight no matter what pressures that you are under to achieve that status.

The seven principles are a great starting point:

1. Start where your students are.
2. Know where your students are going.
3. Expect to get your students to their goal.
4. Support your students along the way.
5. Use fee
...more
Kelly
Jun 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The big thing I think anyone picking up this book needs to know going in is that it is about principles, not strategies. The big questions the book asks are "what are the principles you believe in about education?" and "are your practices as a teacher actually aligning with these principles?" For the most part, the book is not presenting many new ideas. There's a lot of stuff you've probably heard before like "believe that all of your students can succeed" "value the culture and interests of you ...more
Krista Mae
Aug 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this book to be eye-opening and incredible. I have read many reviews that give the book (and author) a hard time saying that the title is misleading, but if you make it through the whole book you'll see what she's talking about!

I think there's an important distinction to be made here - the title, and one of her 7 principles, is not "Never work MORE than your students," it's "Never work HARDER than your students." As she mentions in the book, it is very easy as an educator to jump into bo
...more
Kristi
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The title is a bit misleading as the book is about 7 principles that will lead any teacher to become a master teacher. The beginning of the book starts with the mindset of a master teacher and a quiz to find out where you are in the process of becoming a master teacher. I just finished my 7th year teaching and scored as a novice. At first I didn’t care much for this book because it was about the hard work I needed to do to become a master teacher and couldn’t see how that applied to the title of ...more
Kristin Eoff
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This book has a compelling title and a lot of good ideas and concepts, but the premise is somewhat contradictory. The author says to not work harder than your students but then gives some unrealistic suggestions, such as making differentiated assignments, tutoring on Saturdays, contacting parents with lots of notices about their children, forcing students to retake assessments, and enforcing a host of interventions. I think if you are doing all of that consistently, you are a master teacher and ...more
Jeff Koslowski
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This was my third attempt at trying to read this book cover to cover and it just doesn't feel like the right way to do it. If I could do it over again, I would have taken the quiz at the beginning, then read the tools at the end, and then gone over the chapters. Going from the start makes the process feel very daunting and deflating as if to say "that's a lot of stuff I have to do to not work harder than my students." Take the quiz and go to the chapters on which you need help. Treat it like ref ...more
Sarah Dunmire
The book was written well enough, but they are all concepts I have heard many times before. Especially after taking a Curriculum and Administration masters level class last summer, I didn’t get too many groundbreaking ideas out of it. Some little things here and there, though. A lot of it was anecdotal, which I don’t enjoy all that much. I read it with some teachers in a school professional development book club and I enjoyed that!
Maria
May 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: education
Interesting book. First three chapters were too boring because of the repetation and some useless incidents, but starting from the 4th the writer started having new twist in dealing with teachers' role towards their students learning.
There are some of the helpful guided plans to establish effective learning process in a healthy environment.
Jen Madsen
Jan 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The title is a bit of a switch & bait hook for weary teachers. However, this is one of the more empowering books I've read that capture the essence of engaged learning through nurturing pedagogy. If you follow Jackson's suggestions you may work harder than your students without doing the work of your students. ...more
Larry Jarocki
Jul 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed thinking about this book. Less a nuts-and-bolts activity guide for teachers, it makes you think about your role and expectations in class. I found myself highlighting something on almost every page. It would be good for a department read, provided the teachers are willing to engage in self-reflection for purposes of improvement.
Amy
Dec 10, 2019 marked it as to-read
I read through the opening questionnaire (about 10%) and I think this would be worth re-reading if I work again with high schoolers in a community college setting. The book is definitely meant for grades younger than college, and it kept reminding me of teaching running start kids.
Christy
Apr 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Overall a good book. Although one chapter really fired me up and my spouse had to hear about it. Chapter five was maybe my favorite.
Matthew
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very clear principles, applicable; looking forward to trying some of these ideas out. Some have already worked for me.
Penny Clawson
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
great piece
Andrew Meunier
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
This book was worth reading. It was larger in scope but less specific than some other teaching books I have read (Fundamental Five or Teach Like a Champion for example) but all of the seven "Principles" are valuable. I think most teachers who have been on the job for awhile will probably find that they already apply many of the principles to some extent but most will find at least one principle that bears closer reading. For me the most interesting principles were #1 (Start Where Your Students A ...more
David
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Just an excellent read for any teacher. I do not think that you will get new information or learn some amazing techniques for your classroom instruction but you will receive validation for what you think you are doing right. I really appreciate the easy style with which she writes. I read this book as part of a book study two years ago. I have just ordered two more of her books for my department's pedagogy bookshelf. I must admit that I was really harsh to my self in the rating system sheet she ...more
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