What makes a good teacher? For all the effort that has gone into analyzing and breaking down its processes, teaching is not an exact science. According to Scott Holley, being a good teacher boils down to successfully translating theory into real-world situations. Becoming the Teacher You Wish You’d Had, a mix of philosophy, memoir, and practical advice from Holley and other teachers with years of classroom experience, offers examples of this translation through stories of great lessons, failures to connect, and days of laughter. Holley addresses the issue of what it means to be an ideal teacher—one who has the flexibility and insight to reach each student and to inspire them to want to learn—while ensuring that becoming the teacher you wish you’d had only takes a mind open to the possibilities.
Chapter One: First Year Follies
Nobody Seems to Care
I Don’t Know Where to Begin
I Don’t Get No Respect
These Kids Are Driving Me Crazy!
I’m in this by Myself!
You Mean I’m Supposed to Know What I’m Doing?
Testing, Testing, Testing
As the Students See It
Chapter Two: Defining What Really Matters
Floundering to Find a Way
What Are We Here For?
The Three R’s Are Not Enough
Chapter Three: Defining What to Teach
How Much Can We Really Do?
Defining the Why?
Information or Analysis?
Chapter Four: Defining How to Teach
Is Teaching a Science or an Art?
The Steps of Learning
The So What
The Now What
Learning that Matters
Keep It Simple: It’s Always about the Kids
Questions Matter Most
Chapter Five: Defining How to Improve
The Way It Was
Finding Your Yoda
The Curse of Hollywood
Getting Better Together
It’s Never Easy
Chapter Six: Why Relationships Matter
Being Liked Isn’t the Goal
Healthy Relationships = Respect
Healthy Relationships = Trust
Healthy Relationships = Values
Healthy Relationships = Love
Chapter Seven: Understanding Classroom Management
Knowing the Kids
We’re All in this Together
Setting the Rules of the Road
Don’t Take Misbehavior Personally
Keep the Emotion Out of It
De-escalation Is Your Responsibility
A Sense of Humor Goes a Long Way
Consistency Matters…Except when It Doesn’t
Confidence Makes a Difference
Assign Work that Really Matters
Chapter Eight: Teaching With Passion
Teaching as Salesmanship
Make ’em Laugh
Real Success Is their Success
Taking Care of Business Means Taking Care of Yourself
Chapter Nine: Assessments that Make a Difference
Lessons from the Medical Field
Assessments that Work
The What, So What, and Now What in Assessments
After the Test
Chapter Ten: Conclusion
I have trained future teachers for nineteen years, and this work is by far the best book on teaching I have put in their hands. My methods students tell me that this book both inspires them and makes them aware of the incredible challenges they will face in their future classrooms. They universally call it the best book they have been assigned in their education classes.
Jeff Gall, Ph.D., Professor of History and Social Science Education, Truman State University.
“As an essential and valuable resource, Scott Holley’s book utilizes veteran teachers' wisdom, lessons learned, and success stories to provide future teachers a strong, inspirational foundation and practical strategies for creating success in the classroom. It also speaks to teachers who have spent a number of years in the profession by helping them recharge their battery, reignite their passion, and refocus their purpose for teaching."
John Blaydes, author of Survival Skills for the Principalship, Recipient of the National Educator Award and National Distinguished Principal Award
I found myself staying a little longer every morning at Starbuck's reading a little more, smiling, laughing, and saying to myself, "Yes...this is brilliant...every teacher needs to read this, especially new and young teachers." I have read countless books on education, pedagogy, and leadership during my career, most of the time slogging through them looking for the pearls of wisdom, insight, and inspiration that I could use in my leadership life. I always enjoy and benefit the most from a practitioner's point of view...someone who actually put the philosophy, principles, ideas, and values into practice. This author’s perspective on great teaching has credibility and high value because he is a life-time teacher...a master of the craft of teaching who won the trust, admiration, and respect of students and colleagues. When you add his gift of communication that includes wit, humor, humility, and Scott Holley hyperbole, along with very pointed, well-positioned quotes, you end up with a book that is as entertaining as it is inspirational; not an easy objective to fulfill.
Jim Marsh, Director of the Van Lunen Center
This is an encouraging and fun book to read. With humor and humility, Holley offers a practical, insightful, holistic, and honest conversation about effective teaching, a rewarding craft that changes lives. A must read for aspiring and veteran educators. J
James L. Drexler, Dean of Education, Covenant College
Holley lets us glimpse into his life as an educator, and I am so glad he did! This book has valuable lessons for all teachers working with students middle school and higher. If you know a truly remarkable teacher who should write a book, it’s Dr. Holley, and he has done just that by taking the honest lessons of his own career and compiling tried and true tricks of the trade to help us all achieve success in our classrooms. I will refer to this book often and will use it as a tool for years to come.
Susan Ross, middle school teacher
Accessible, heartwarming, and genuine, this book lays out the essential fundamentals of teaching in a way that flows easily and passionately. The author gives the reader a set of comprehensive building blocks, and leaves us believing we can build a pyramid. His writing is infused with a wisdom that is both theoretical and practical, that lives simultaneously in the big picture and the smallest details, and moves effortlessly between the two. Part memoir, part self‐help book, the author's own experiences and teachings are enhanced by a chorus of other thoughtfully placed voices and framed by a series of stimulating questions that function as both an invitation and a call to action. I believe I am a better tutor and overall human being after reading this book.
Jacqueline Thornton, academic consultant