by Robyn R. Jackson

As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.

Harrington Emerson

I am going to say something scandalous: Just because we went to school for teaching doesn't mean that we come out of school as master teachers. Even if you were a good student in school, it does not mean that you will be a good teacher. The tasks you were asked to do in school are fundamentally different from the day-to-day tasks you are asked to do as a teacher. In fact, most teachers will tell you that although their education courses and their student teaching gave them a good theoretical background, what they really learned about teaching, they learned on the job.

But teaching for many years is not enough to make you a master teacher, either. There are some teachers who have been teaching for more than 20 years and still think and behave like novices; other teachers have become master teachers after only a few years of experience. And the sad truth is that some of us never become master teachers, no matter how many years we've been teaching.

Experience alone does not make you a master teacher any more than practicing scales twice a day makes you a concert pianist. Mastery teaching is not about the time you put in. It's what you do with your time that counts.

You see, mastery teaching requires specific, intentional practice.

That's good news because it means—and this book is built on this very premise—that *anyone can become a master teacher with the right kind of practice*.

This book will help you get that kind of practice. And the more you practice the principles of this book, the more you will begin to think and act like a master teacher. I call this process *developing a master teacher mindset*.

The master teacher mindset is really a disposition toward teaching. It is a way of thinking about instruction, about students, about learning, and about teaching in general that makes teaching fluid, efficient, and effective.

Many of us think that in order to be a good teacher, we need to have all the answers. We focus our time and energy accumulating strategies and skills, hoping that if we have a big enough bag of tricks, we will be prepared to face whatever happens in the classroom. The master teacher mindset means knowing that having all the answers isn't nearly as important as knowing what questions to ask. It means knowing that if you ask the right question, the question itself will lead you to the information that you need to examine to find the answer. Good questions reveal what information is relevant, when information is sufficient, and how that information should be used appropriately.

The master teacher mindset also means knowing how to ask students the right questions, the kind of questions that lead to deeper thinking, increased motivation, and more student ownership over their work. Master teachers spend more time refining their inquiry skills and their own curiosity than they do collecting strategies and skills.

Most of us experience a problem and quickly rush to find a solution. Developing a master teacher mindset means knowing that defining the problem correctly makes it more likely that you will find the appropriate solution. Master teachers spend more time thinking about why the problem is occurring than they do trying to find solutions. They examine the problem from all sides. The master teacher mindset means being willing to own your own contribution to the problem but, at the same time, being reluctant to cast blame on others because you know that casting blame is not nearly as useful as looking for causes. Master teachers are willing to confront the brutal facts of their reality and account for those facts when developing a solution.

The master teacher mindset means not trying to teach like anyone else. Instead, you teach in ways that fit your own style. At the same time, you look for ways to make your teaching style relevant to your students' needs. Master teachers understand that there isn't just one way to teach and that effective teaching can be accomplished in a myriad of ways. They find ways that work for them *and* their students.

At the end of the day, most of us are so exhausted, we just want to go home, wade through the stack of papers we need to grade, plan for the next day, and go to bed. We rarely take the time to meaningfully reflect on our teaching. But with a master teacher mindset, you understand that meaningful reflection is critical to honing and refining your teaching craft. Master teachers take the time to reflect on their teaching in order to expose unwarranted or harmful assumptions they may hold, reveal fallacies in their thinking, illuminate problems, and determine directions for new growth. They see reflection as a necessary part of their day.

Ultimately, master teachers don't just magically develop the master teacher mindset. Teaching requires a vast body of knowledge. We have to know pedagogy, but also must be experts in our subject area or areas. This huge body of knowledge can be an overwhelming hodgepodge of largely disconnected facts, unless we have a system for organizing the information. Master teachers learn how to organize their teaching knowledge into meaningful patterns and, from these patterns, develop a set of key instructional principles. Their entire instructional practice is governed by this small set of core principles, and they rigorously select strategies and teaching approaches based on these principles rather than become enamored with every new strategy or technique that comes in vogue.

I call these principles the *mastery principles*, and the rest of this book is devoted to helping you learn to apply them to your own teaching practice. Here they are:

- Master teachers start where their students are.
- Master teachers know where their students are going.
- Master teachers expect to get their students to their goal.
- Master teachers support their students along the way.
- Master teachers use feedback to help them and their students get better.
- Master teachers focus on quality rather than quantity.
- Master teachers never work harder than their students.

Master teachers often have a difficult time explaining the decision-making process that makes them masterful in the classroom. They have practiced these principles for so long that much of what they do has become automatic and seems almost natural. In the same way that learning to drive initially requires a lot of conscious effort and attention but eventually becomes so automatic that we rarely think about it, the disciplined practice of the master teacher principles will at first seem very awkward but will soon become automatic. Once you have practiced these principles to the point where they become automatic, it will take very little effort to maintain them.

You may be surprised that none of these principles seems especially earth-shattering. They almost seem to be common (teaching) sense. Most of us know already that we need to set goals or to assess student progress. We learn it the first day in college. It's Teaching 101.

I would venture that most of us will claim we are already abiding by these principles in our daily practice. We already set high expectations for our students. We already try to get our students to do their own work. After all, what teacher will admit, "I don't have high expectations for my students" or "I don't provide my students with the supports they will need to be successful"?

So why is it that so many of us still find teaching so challenging? Why is it that we are still not successful with *all* of our students? If the principles are so effective, and if we are already using the principles in our daily practice, why are we still struggling to reach every student, every day?

Here is the crux of *Never Work Harder Than Your Students and Other Principles of Great Teaching*. We all learned these principles in school, but what separates master teachers from the rest of us is that master teachers learned how to use the principles effectively, and they rigorously apply these principles to their teaching. In fact, these principles have become such an integral part of their teaching that master teachers no longer have to consciously think about them. Applying these principles has become a natural response to students' needs.

Wouldn't it be marvelous if good teaching became that natural to all of us? Wouldn't it be wonderful if we no longer had to struggle through every teaching challenge? Wouldn't it be fantastic if we got to the point where we were faced with a teaching challenge and could quickly and automatically figure out how to address it effectively? Wouldn't it be great, in short, if we all thought like master teachers?

Many of us have been looking for a way to do just that for years. So we go back to school and get more degrees, or attend professional development workshops to gain new strategies, or spend our summers taking classes in the latest instructional approach, or read books that promise us "the secret" to improving our teaching.

But the master teacher mindset is not simply a response to good training. We don't go through school and come out automatically thinking like a master teacher. The master teacher mindset develops as a result of systematically taking all that we know about teaching, organizing it into a few governing principles, and rigorously applying these principles to our teaching until they become our spontaneous response to students in the classroom. The more we practice these principles, the more we begin to think like master teachers.

If you are a teacher, this book will help you figure out where you are on your journey to becoming a master teacher and how to move from one stage to the next. For staff developers and instructional leaders, this book will help you learn how to support teachers on their journey to becoming master teachers by helping you diagnose where they are on that journey and showing you how to help them reach that next step.

At the end of this introduction is a self-assessment to help you diagnose where you are on your journey toward becoming a master teacher. Take the assessment and give yourself two scores: an overall score to assess where you are on the master teacher trajectory, and an individual score for each principle. You can use your overall score to focus your reading of the chapters and figure out how you can move to the next level. You can use your scores for individual principles to help you choose which chapters to read first and on which principles you need to spend the majority of your energy.

Chapters 1 through 7 outline each of the principles in more detail and explain how you can begin to practice the principle in your own classroom. Each chapter begins with a vignette that illustrates what most of us were taught about teaching and the challenge that such thinking often presents for teachers. Then you will be introduced to a principle and the research that explains why the principle is important. The next section, "Practicing the Principle," gives you concrete advice about how you can integrate the principle into your own practice and provides practical examples of how the principle plays out in the classroom. These strategies are grouped under the heading "Try This."

Because I know that you may be hesitant about trying some of the ideas in this book, each chapter also includes text boxes ("Yes, but …") with content that acknowledges these feelings, recognizes common objections, and provides suggestions for overcoming your resistance. The intent is to help you resolve some of the practical challenges that could otherwise get in the way of your being able to implement the principle.

The principle-focused chapters end with a "Getting Started" section, which summarizes the main steps to applying the principle. You can use these steps to help you focus your thinking on the most important points of the chapter and as a reminder of the ways you can begin to apply the principle in your own classroom and work. This section also provides concrete steps you can take to move from where you are (as determined by your overall score on the self-assessment) to the next level in the mastery trajectory.

Chapter 8 is new to this edition. Because so many teachers have told me over the years how they long to be master teachers but feel stymied by their district policies or by administrators who don't support their efforts, I wanted to give you a few tools to help you take charge over your own practice and leverage your evaluation system to your advantage. That way, you'll be able to chart your own course toward mastery and secure the support you need to do so.

Chapter 9 will take you step by step through the process of moving toward becoming a master teacher by systematically applying the master teacher principles to your practice. It helps you develop a viable action plan that you can immediately put into place, discusses the challenges you may face, and provides resources for getting support as you improve your teaching. It can also serve as a great reminder three to six months down the road to help you analyze your progress, tweak your plan, and stay the course.

I've also included several tools in the Appendix to help you begin practicing what you learn in this book right away. Many of these tools can be adapted to your own purposes. And throughout the book, I also reference resources available on my website (www.mindstepsinc.com) that can help you extend your thinking.

The pathway to becoming a master teacher is by no means linear; there is more than one route to expertise. You may develop expertise in one area and still be at the novice level in another area. Thus, although I think it's best to read each chapter in order, you can figure out on what principle you received the lowest score, flip right to the chapter where that principle is covered, and discover ideas and strategies that will help address your immediate needs. Later, you can move through the rest of the book at a more leisurely pace and see how all of the principles connect.

However you choose to use this book, I hope it will inspire you to take a close look at your teaching, to challenge some of your assumptions about both teaching and the way that students learn, and to adjust your instruction or your instructional leadership so that your students can learn more effectively. Developing a master teacher mindset will change the way you feel about students, about learning, and about teaching in general. Your values will evolve. Your interest in your subject and in teaching will be revived. Your identity as a teacher will expand. In the process, you will rekindle your sense that what you do truly makes a difference in the lives of your students. And most of all, I hope that by reading this book, you will discover for yourself the gift that good teaching really is.

Mastery cannot be measured by the number of years you've been teaching. It is measured by how well you apply the mastery principles to your teaching. Thus, the first step to moving toward mastery is to assess how well you are currently applying the mastery principles to your own practice by taking the quiz on the following pages. Answer each question as honestly as you can; think not about what you would like to do, but about what you are currently doing in your own practice. There are no right or wrong answers.

Use the scoring sheet on page 22 to keep track of your answers. Next to each number, write your answer to that question in the box provided. When you are finished answering the questions, use the scoring sheet to give yourself two scores. First, calculate an overall score. Then, give yourself an average score for each mastery principle. Your overall score will be between 49 and 196. Your average score for each principle will be between 1 and 4.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I tend to look at my class as a whole and think of my students in terms of their group characteristics.
- I see my class as a group of groups and cluster certain students together.
- I see each of my students as individuals.
- I pay attention to the individual needs of my students but also notice how those needs and individual characteristics interact in the entire group.

**When faced with a new curriculum,**- I use the lesson plans included in the curriculum guide.
- I figure out how I will cover all of the material in each unit and start creating lesson plans.
- I look at the assessment at the end of each unit and back-map my plans from there.
- I use the assessment to figure out what the "need-to-knows" are and determine how well students need to know each objective. Then I plan the assessments and learning activities based on each objective.

**When a student does poorly on a test,**- I think the student did not study hard enough.
- I think it was a poorly designed test, and I will need to make a better one next time.
- I think the student did not understand the material. I will need to provide remediation to help the student do better on the next test.
- I think that I need to work with the student more carefully to ensure a better result on any reassessment.

**When examining data,**- I consider all available data before making an instructional decision.
- I examine only the whole-class data before making an instructional decision.
- I examine both whole-class data and individual student data before making an instructional decision.
- I examine only the data that give me the best feedback to help me reach my goals and deliberately ignore the rest when making an instructional decision.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I am still learning my discipline and I try to stay at least one step ahead of my students.
- I understand my discipline well enough to teach it, although there are times when I get stumped as to how to explain something to a student.
- For the most part I understand my discipline and have more than one way of explaining the major concepts to students.
- I understand my discipline and take time not only to explain the concepts and skills to my students but also to show them how to learn my subject on their own.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I follow the curriculum guide step by step and try to cover everything.
- I follow the curriculum guide as well as I can, but I realize that I cannot get to everything.
- I pick and choose what I want to teach from the curriculum guide and try to cover the things that I think are most important.
- I assess the curriculum guide and divide it into those things students absolutely need to know in order to master the learning objectives and those that are nice to know.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I am working much harder than my students.
- I am working somewhat harder than my students.
- I am working about as hard as my students.
- I am doing my work as the students do their work.

**When faced with a discipline problem in the classroom,**- I look for a solution.
- I try a variety of solutions to see which one works best.
- I think about what may be causing the problem and select a solution that fits the situation.
- I look for patterns and develop a solution that will address not only the surface problem but also the underlying causes revealed by the pattern.

**When looking at the curriculum standards,**- I try to figure out how I am going to teach them all in the time I have.
- I try to figure out which assignments and activities will best help my students achieve the standards.
- I try to figure out what assessments I will use so that I will know when my students have mastered the standards.
- I try to figure out whether the standard is asking students to master content or a process.

**What causes your success or failure in the classroom?**- It depends. Some days things go well. Other days, they just don't. I really can never tell how things will go.
- It depends on how difficult the teaching task is. If it is an easy teaching task, I am likely to be successful. But the harder the teaching task, the less likely I am to be successful.
- It depends on how good a teacher I am. When things go well, it is because I am good at that part of teaching. If things go poorly, then it means that I do not have that teaching skill.
- It depends on my effort. If things go well, it is because I worked really hard at making sure that things went well. If things go poorly, it means that I have to work harder to make sure things go better next time.

**When grading students' papers,**- I write a great deal of comments on their papers, pointing out where they went wrong.
- I mark student errors but write few if any comments. The final grade is what matters to students.
- I make a few marks and write summary comments at the end to give students an overall assessment of their performance.
- I mark student errors and write only comments that will coach students toward better performance next time.

**When a student seems to misunderstand a concept,**- I press ahead and hope that the student will understand later.
- I try to meet with the student after school or during lunch to clear up the confusion.
- I give the student an alternate reading or supplementary materials to help clear up the confusion.
- I try to understand why the student is getting confused and then work to clear up the confusion.

**When it comes to homework,**- I assign homework just about every night. I think it is important that students have homework.
- I use homework as a way to cover those things I just can't cover in class.
- I use homework to help students develop good study habits.
- I use homework to provide students with independent practice for things they have learned in class.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I keep track of my students' grades. If students want to know how they are doing in my class, they can ask me or wait for the progress report or the report card.
- I keep track of my students' grades, but I regularly post their grades online so that they can also keep track of how they are doing.
- I keep track of my students' grades, but I post them regularly and also show students how they can track their own grades and figure out their course average.
- I keep track of my students' grades, but I also require that they track their own data. In fact, analyzing their own achievement data is a part of how we regularly run class.

**When it comes to "soft" skills such as how to study or organize a notebook,**- I expect my students to know how to do those things already. It is not my job to teach them how to study or organize their notebooks.
- I require that my students use specific skills in my classroom. I give them a quiz on the chapters I assign for homework to make sure that they study and conduct notebook checks to make sure that they keep their notebooks organized.
- I show my students how to gain these skills. For instance, I give students a study guide, and I have a system for how notebooks should be organized.
- I first look at how students are studying and organizing their notebooks, and then show them how to improve what they are already doing.

**When writing learning objectives,**- I try to state them using the wording favored by the district.
- I figure out what activities I want my students to complete and list them.
- I figure out what concepts or skills I want my students to master.
- I figure out what I want students to learn and then how I can communicate that in a way that students will understand.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- All students can achieve at high levels if they have supportive parents, a strong educational foundation, and the innate intellectual skills they need.
- All students can achieve at high levels if they are motivated to do so.
- All students can achieve at high levels if they are given the proper support in school.
- All students can achieve at high levels and can actually get even smarter if they are taught how to exert effective effort.

**After grading a set of papers,**- I record the grades in my grade book.
- I record the grades and look to see which students passed and which students failed.
- I record the grades and get a general sense of how the class is doing as a whole.
- I record the grades and, based on student performance, figure out how I need to adjust my instruction going forward.

**When a student has demonstrated mastery of the objectives of a unit already,**- I give the student an
*A*. - I ask the student to help some of the other students in the class who haven't gotten it yet.
- I try to find an enrichment activity the student can do while the rest of the class works through the unit.
- I take what I am already teaching and introduce more complexity and ambiguity into the concepts and skills to keep the student challenged.

- I give the student an
**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I stick to the curriculum guide.
- I stick mostly to the curriculum guide, but I do include a few assignments that are just for fun.
- I use the curriculum as a guide, but I add assignments that cover material I think is important or enjoyable.
- I choose what I teach based on what assignments will best help my students master the objectives stated in the curriculum guide.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I try to give my students as much help as I can, but sometimes I wonder if I am really doing the work for them.
- I try to limit the amount of help I give my students because they are going to have to learn how to learn on their own. They won't have the same supports once they get to the next level.
- I try to balance helping my students with teaching them to be independent, but sometimes my students seem unable to figure things out on their own.
- I give my students just enough help so that they can figure out how to do things on their own.

**When students come to class without the "soft" skills that they need to be successful,**- I talk to their counselors to make sure that they are properly placed in my class.
- I try to teach students the skills the students need, even if it means that I don't always get through my entire curriculum.
- I look for ways to help students acquire the skills that are most necessary while trying to get through as much of my curriculum as I can.
- I look for ways I can show students how to capitalize on the skills that they do have in order to acquire the skills that they don't have.

**When it comes to assessments,**- I use the ones included in the curriculum guide.
- I write my own, usually after I have taught the unit.
- I write the assessment after I have planned the unit, once I have a sense of what material I will be able to cover.
- I write the assessment prior to planning the unit.

**When looking at student data,**- I select which data I will pay attention to. I tend to focus on the data I know and understand and disregard the rest.
- I look at all of the data but sometimes make excuses for the information that is unfavorable.
- I average the data. As long as most of the students are doing OK or my averages are high enough, then I am fine.
- I consider all of the data important and consistently analyze the information in terms of individual student progress rather than averages.

**Which best describes your typical response to students' answers during class discussions?**- Praise: I want to encourage them to participate, so I praise them even if the answer is not exactly right.
- Evaluative: I want to encourage them to participate, but I also want them to know when they have given the wrong answer.
- Corrective: If they give the wrong answer, I want to show them where they went wrong so that they will know how to give a better answer next time.
- Coaching: If students give the wrong answer, I want them to figure out how to arrive at the right answer.

**The time to help a struggling student is**- Once the student has failed the marking period.
- Once the student has shown that he or she is failing, at the interim report.
- At the first sign the student is struggling (usually a failed quiz or test).
- Before the student begins to struggle.

**When teaching a new skill or concept,**- I try to cover it as best I can given the time I have.
- I make sure that my students know it well enough to pass the test.
- I make sure that students know it in their sleep.
- I decide whether students need to know it to the level of automaticity or controlled processing.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- Sometimes I am so busy trying to deal with my students' outside problems that I have a hard time getting to the curriculum I am supposed to teach.
- I cannot solve all of my students' problems, so I just focus on what I can do in the classroom to help them learn.
- I recognize that my students' outside problems influence what they do in my classroom, so I try to find a balance between helping them solve their problems and mastering the curriculum.
- I recognize that it is not my job to solve all of my students' problems, so I focus on finding ways to help them develop the skills they need to solve their own problems.

**When a student does not seem to be a "good student,"**- I question whether the student is motivated.
- I question whether the student is academically capable.
- I question what I can do to get the student to meet my expectations.
- I question whether my expectations fail to consider alternate ways of demonstrating mastery or motivation.

**Learning objectives are communicated to students by**- Posting them on the board each day.
- Posting them on the board and reading them to students at the beginning of class.
- Posting them on the board, announcing them to students at the beginning of class, and listing them in my syllabus or in letters home to parents.
- Posting them in class, explaining them to students either verbally or in writing, and listing them in my syllabus and in parent communications.

**How would you characterize yourself?**- I am an optimist. I believe that all my students will learn.
- I am a realist. I know that some students will not learn because of the various constraints they face.
- I am a pragmatist. I believe that all students can learn, but they may not all be able to learn from me.
- I am a visionary. I believe that all students can learn and that it is my job to figure out how to best make sure they learn in my class.

**When a lesson does not seem to be working,**- I press on anyway and hope that things will get better.
- I switch tactics and try something else.
- I use more explanatory devices or other instructional strategies to help students become engaged and to facilitate more student understanding.
- I pay attention to the feedback I am getting from students and make adjustments to the lesson to better meet students' learning needs.

**When planning lessons, you can predict where students may become confused based on**- What material seems to have the most explanation in the curriculum guide.
- What material has been confusing to my students in the past.
- What I know about my subject and the common misconceptions that exist.
- What I know about my subject and where students are in their conceptual development.

**In order for students to learn a new skill,**- They need to study hard and memorize it.
- They need to practice it from start to finish so that they can learn the entire process well.
- They need to build on their emerging skills until they have learned to practice the entire process.
- They need multiple opportunities to practice parts of the skill over time and master them, as well as opportunities to practice the full-length performance.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I haven't had a chance to establish routines for everything yet.
- I use routines to keep students in line. I find that if we have routines, students are better behaved.
- I use routines to help our class go more smoothly and maximize students' time on task. When there are routines, students can spend more time on learning and less time on logistics.
- I use routines to help students take on more of the work in the classroom.

**When rewarding students,**- I decide on a list of rewards and give them to students when they meet some criteria.
- I don't typically reward students. Learning is reward enough.
- I try to find rewards that I think will motivate students to keep up the good work.
- I pay attention to what students value and find a way to connect what they value to what they should be doing in the classroom.

**To differentiate instruction,**- I group my students into high-, medium-, and low-ability groups and plan three different lessons based on students' abilities.
- I group my students into high-, medium-, and low-ability groups and plan three different versions of the same lesson.
- I focus on planning lessons that accommodate students' multiple intelligences.
- I plan one lesson that starts at the standard and make adjustments to that lesson that are designed to help all students meet or exceed the standard.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- Although I hold very strong beliefs about the value of what I do in the classroom, I am often so overwhelmed or pressed for time that my teaching practice does not reflect those things that I really believe are important.
- I used to hold strong beliefs about the value of what I do in the classroom, but over time and after so many challenges, I am not so sure I believe the same way anymore.
- I still believe in the value of what I do in the classroom, although my beliefs are tempered by the reality I face each day.
- I believe that what I do is important, and that belief only grows stronger the more I interact with my students.

**In your class, an***A*means that a student- Is passing my class.
- Is smart or potentially gifted.
- Has worked hard.
- Has mastered the objectives of the course.

**If a student fails a test,**- I record the grade.
- I offer the student extra credit opportunities to make up for the low grade.
- I figure out why the student failed and offer remediation.
- I institute some corrective action and allow the student the opportunity to retake the test.

**When evaluating lesson plans each year,**- I figure out how I can cover the material better next time.
- I figure out how I can combine activities or shorten the amount of time I spend on activities so that I can make better use of my time next time.
- I figure out how I can teach the assignments differently and more effectively so that my students can better master the objectives.
- I try to identify things I can stop doing so that I have more time to help my students master what is really important.

**When students do not fulfill their classroom responsibilities,**- I create new rules or responsibilities.
- I punish students.
- I find a system of rewards to motivate them.
- I hold students accountable by applying logical consequences.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I feel that culture has no place in my curriculum.
- I don't change my basic curriculum, but I do try to include culturally relevant material, such as stories or interesting facts, and I acknowledge the contributions of other cultures.
- I adjust my curriculum so that it includes multiple cultural perspectives.
- I alter my curriculum so that it can capitalize on my students' backgrounds, experiences, and preferences.

**To make learning objectives concrete,**- I state them in kid-friendly language so that my students can understand them.
- I try to figure out what the goal really means and what activities or assignments will best fit each goal.
- I try to figure out how the goal will be assessed and make sure that all the assignments and activities I chose are a good match for the objective.
- I try to figure out what mastery of the goal will look like and what steps students will have to take in order to achieve mastery.

**Which of the following statements is most true for you?**- I believe that if I have the right strategies and resources, I can handle any teaching task I face.
- I believe that there are just some teaching tasks that I am not prepared to handle.
- I believe that most teaching tasks can be handled, but some are so difficult that I do not have the time or the resources to handle them effectively.
- I believe that there are some teaching tasks that are more difficult than others, but that I can handle any teaching task if I realistically assess the situation and maintain unwavering faith that I will prevail.

**Students' progress is judged on**- Their overall average in my class.
- Their individual grades on tests, quizzes, and assignments.
- Formative and summative assessment grades.
- Various data sources such as formative and summative assessments, assignments, class discussions, and performance tasks.

**When a student begins to struggle,**- I tutor the student one-on-one after school or during lunch.
- I tell the student to come see me after school or during lunch. If the student chooses to come in, I will provide remediation. If not, then the student has chosen to fail.
- I try to figure out why the student is having difficulty and provide help both in class and outside class.
- I implement a predetermined intervention designed to quickly get the student back on track.

**When selecting assignments to give to students, the most important factor is**- What I can reasonably accomplish in the time I have.
- What I enjoy doing and will be enjoyable for my students.
- What makes the most sense given my students, my own teaching preferences, and the amount of time and resources I have.
- What will most efficiently and effectively help my students master my learning objectives.

**If a student is working on an in-class assignment and comes for help on a particular question,**- I give the student the right answer. I don't want the student to struggle.
- I tell the student to ask another student or look up the answer.
- I give the student progressive minimal cues.
- I show the student how to find the answer himself/herself.

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Good teaching for master teachers is fluid and automatic. They invest most of their time up front in planning and thinking through their teaching situation. Master teachers unpack the standards and set learning goals for students that represent minimum rather than maximum performance. Not only do they make conscious decisions about what students need to know and how well they need to know it, but they also decide early on what evidence of student mastery they will collect and use this feedback to inform their instructional decisions while helping students move toward reaching their learning targets. They incorporate supports into their instructional practice to catch students before they fail and appropriately balance the work of learning between themselves and their students. They recognize the currencies students bring with them to the classroom and help students use these currencies to acquire classroom capital. At the same time, master teachers base their expectations not on what their students can do, but on what *they* can do to help their students.

Most veteran teachers score in this range. They have been teaching for a few years and make conscious choices about what they do in the classroom based on experience. They unpack the standards of their curriculum and have a pretty clear understanding of their learning goals, but they do not always break down these learning goals into concrete steps toward mastery. Practitioners align their assessments and learning activities to their learning goals most of the time and use this feedback to adjust their own instructional practice. However, practitioners may not always provide students with the growth-oriented feedback they need to improve their own performance. Practitioners intervene with struggling students but may not always intervene *before* students begin to fail. And, although they confront the brutal facts of their reality, their faith is based on outside factors rather than on what they can do to change things. Although practitioners recognize and appreciate the currencies students bring with them to the classroom, their focus is on helping students acquire new currencies rather than on showing them how to use the currencies they have already. As a result, in their attempts to balance the work between themselves and the students, they still rescue students when things become too uncomfortable.

Good teaching for apprentices is based on having the right strategy. They take time to understand curriculum objectives and how they can cover those objectives in the limited time they have. Because apprentices realize that some rules can be broken, they often pick and choose what activities they will use for each unit and decide early on what assessments they will use. However, they do not always use assessment results to inform future instructional decisions. Apprentice teachers make some attempts at differentiating instruction but base their instructional strategies on "high," "on-level," and "low" students rather than on individual student needs. They recognize that students have different abilities and values but attempt to get students to exchange their values for those that are accepted in the classroom. When students do not adopt these values or otherwise do not meet their expectations, apprentices may lose faith and become disillusioned.

There are two types of novices. Some teachers are novices because they have just started teaching and are still learning the ropes. Other novices have actually been teaching for some time but still approach teaching with a novice mindset. Good teaching for both types of novices requires careful thought and planning. They look for rules or recipes to guide their practice. Many times they are so overwhelmed that they rely on the objectives and activities provided by the curriculum guide without really understanding what they mean. Novices work very hard to get through the curriculum by focusing on coverage and task completion. They have a limited number of explanatory devices and depend on remediation to help students who are very far behind. Novices use assessments to evaluate student performance and often use the tests that come with the curriculum guide. If they do create a test, they typically do so after they have taught the unit. Their understanding of who their students are is based on generalizations and stereotypes, and their expectations for students are based on their perception of what they believe students can do. Because of these expectations, novices typically work very hard, doing the lion's share of the work in the classroom.

Now that you have given yourself an overall score, give yourself a score for each principle. To calculate your score, begin by totaling the number of points in each column of the scoring sheet. Then, divide that number by 7 for your average score. Record your average score for each principle. (For an example of how to develop an action plan based on the completed scoring sheet, see Tool 2 in the Appendix, p. 236.)

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