Thursday, November 1, 2012

Never Work Harder Than Your Students: Chapter 3

We are doing a book club with our 2nd and 3rd year teachers in our district and reading the book Never Work Harder than your students.

Chapter 3 could be summed up as:

If you don't believe in yourself, who can you believe in?


Some of the main Take-aways I have from chapter 3 are as follows:


  • We drag kids through curriculum
  • We need to look at the expectations we have for ourselves before we can expect things from kids
  • The difference between the expectation and the standard is:
    • Standard is the bar
    • Expectation is your belief that the students can reach the bar
  • Just because you raised the standard doesn't mean that you have also altered your belief that kids can reach those standards.
  • If you believe students won't meet the standard, then that belief will play out in your classroom.
  • An expectation is the confidence that something will happen
An expectation is what you get when you multiply the probability of an occurrence and the value of that occurrence.

  • Beliefs are what we think is true
  • Values are what we think something is worth
  • Our expectations are the intersection between what we believe about our teaching situation and our own abilities to handle it and what we believe is important.


  • Blind belief in our own talent
  • Bet to take anything and turn it into something better
Teachers go to work believing they will end up with a masterpiece, not because the raw material they are working with has some innate potential but because of the power of their own ability to create a masterpiece.




It's about you...
  • Students pick up on our expectations fairly quickly.  They then formulate judgements about the kind of teacher we are and decide how hard they will work in our classroom
  • If we believe in the student, we will pull out all the stops.
  • If we are not confident in our ability, we will lower our expectations
  • lowered expectations is a self-protective measure
  • You want to raise expectations of your students, you first have to raise your expectations of yourself
  • Rather than focus on the problem, focus on how to solve the problem
Stockdale Paradox
  • Optimism creates despair
  • Never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end with the discipline to confront the most difficult of reality.
Have faith in yourself
  • If we believe what we are doing is important, we are more likely there is a way to prevail
  • Faith based on your ideals, what you believe is important
  • Do you value your students following your rules, being quiet and cooperative?
  • Do you value engaging activities with the material and learn to be critical thinkers and effective communication.
  • What do you value?  When you determine what you value, you will determine your faith...
Confront your reality
  • The way we decide what to focus on is what we value.
Our beliefs function as a filter through which we sift our reality.
  • Our decisions are based on our beliefs and the magnitude of our teaching task as well as our own abilities.
  • Asking the right questions will grant you the opportunity to change your beliefs or let them be challenged.
  • Be humble enough to know that you don't have all the answers
  • Be willing to "stop" doing something you are doing...
  • When you get data or information do you use it as an opportunity to blame someone or to improve?
Whole Equation
  • Balance your focus on both sides of the paradox
  • What can I do today to move toward my goal despite the reality of my circumstances?
  • How do you see your individual reality?

Wrap it up...

If a student is failing, then it means that I haven't found the right way to get through to them.

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