Published by the same publisher, and just two months after, the TFA ‘Teaching As Leadership’ book, I was curious to see if this book could live up to its hype.
I’m only a few pages in, but my first impression is that this is an excellent book. What I like about this book is that rather than lofty ideals he focuses on the ‘craft’ of teaching — the seemingly small details that add up to a lot of ‘achievement gap closing.’
A quote from the intro underscores the difference between this book and the other:
When I was a young teacher, people gave me lots of advice. I’d go to trainings and leave with lofty words ringing in my ears. They touched on everything that had made me want to teach. “Hiave high expectations for your students.” “Expect the most from students every day.” “Teach kids, not content.” I’d be inspired, ready to improve – until I got to school the next day. I’d find myself asking, “Well, how do I do that? What’s the action I should take at 8:27 A.M. to demonstrate those raised expectations.”
My sense is that Lemov approached this task of quantifying what techniques the best teachers use like a scientist. It wasn’t about what things he hoped work, or about what things he thinks he should say work because it will result in higher funding for his organizations. Many of his techniques are, by his own admission, not ‘glamorous.’ (Compare ‘Teaching As Leadership’ where one of the techniques is to camp out at the house when a parent is difficult to reach by phone.)
Anyway, aside from skimming the book and reading the intro, I don’t want to yet proclaim my full endorsement of the book, but it does look pretty good so far.
So, to anybody who thinks that I like to bash books to make my own two books look better, here’s a counterexample.