Wednesday, October 6, 2010

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Review: "Simply the Best" by Middleton and Petitt

What makes a school or school system successful? Good teachers and thriving students, say Kelly E. Middleton and Elizabeth A. Petitt, in their book, Simply the Best: 29 Things Students Say the Best Teachers Do Around Relationships. In this book geared towards teachers, Middleton and Petitt asked students what things the best teachers do and listed 29 things in the book along with tips, research, and much more.

“The best teachers know us personally.” In the Mason County school district in Maysville, Kentucky, the teachers have all made it a point to personally visit the home of each of their students in preschool up to grade twelve before school starts in order to get to know them better, meet their families, and build a personal relationship before classes even begin. As a result, the students in that district are excelling.

“The best teachers remember our names and use them.” Names are intertwined with identity and students use this as one of the yardsticks to measure their first impression of teachers. School staff must take extra precautions to ensure they take the time to learn to pronounce difficult or unique names, conveying to students that they appreciate not only the unique or beautiful nature of their name, but also the person who owns it. Being a uniquely-named person myself, I can appreciate this.

“The best teachers check on us when we are sick or even when we have sickness in our family.” Teachers in the Mason County school district call home if students miss more than one consecutive day, sometimes calling daily to check on them. They send hand-written notes, cards, make visits to home and hospitals, and more to let their students know they care. They even have the entire class make a phone call saying, “We miss you!” to make the ill student feel special. They also help the student get back on track if they miss too much school, instead of just letting them fall behind.

These are just a few of the many amazing tips this book has to offer for educators. It also has many places to reflect on your own role as a teacher, how you’re doing with letting your students know you care, and how your district is dealing with the children they are entrusted. This book is an invaluable resource to any educator; be it a teacher or school board official.

Simply the Best is available on Amazon.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and AuthorHouse.com and retails for $21.99. Click on this link to preview the first 26 pages of Simply the Best. You can also find more information on Middleton’s website.


Thank you to AuthorHouse for sending us a complimentary copy of this book to base this review upon.