I have been teaching high school students how to read, write, and think for almost 30 years. I love my job. If I could afford it, I’d do it for free. So it always distresses me when each year I encounter an increasing number of new teachers who are ready to quit the profession after a couple of months or veteran teachers who are literally enduring until retirement. Their frustration and misery are passed directly on to their students.

In June of 1997, I was sad to hear that a young woman who began the school year full of energy and idealism had quit to do something else because she could not get her students to behave. She was in another department in a large public school and I had no idea how desperate she felt. That summer, I decided to sit down and write about everything I wish I had said to her before her classes got so out of hand. To keep it simple, I organized what I knew to be true about good teaching into ten basic attitudes – commandments, if you will. I tried to write as if I were talking to a friend who was having problems in the classroom. Much of what I know I learned through mistakes, but one of the wonders of our profession is that teachers get a chance to review and renew at the beginning of every year.

So far, I’ve written three books for teachers. All are designed to give new teachers the tools and courage to follow their best instincts about what to do in their own classrooms. My books are also dedicated to experienced teachers who are on the edge of burnout to help them remember what made them want to be teachers in the first place.

If you’re good at it, teaching is the best job in the world. If you’re not good at it, it can be a nightmare that affects your mental and physical health. My books are not for those who go into teaching to have their summers free or because they think being a teacher will give them the power they lack in other areas of their lives. My books are for those who fell in love with teaching because they love children and because they truly believe they can positively affect a child’s life.

The Eleven Commandments of Good Teaching
The Eleven Commandments of Good Teaching (Corwin Press, 2009)
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The Ten Commandments of Professionalism for Teachers (Corwin Press, 2005)
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The Ten Students You’ll Meet in Your Classroom (Corwin Press, 2007)
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Read my blog posts on teaching