Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching

Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching

Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching

Never Work Harder Than Your Students & Other Principles of Great Teaching


Is great teaching a gift that only a few of us are born with, or is it a skill that can be learned? In Never Work Harder Than Your Students, Robyn Jackson makes a radical assertion: Any teacher can become a master teacher by developing a master teacher mindset. The master teacher mindset can be achieved by rigorously applying seven principles to your teaching until they become your automatic response to students in the classroom. The more you practice these seven principles, the more you begin to think like a master teacher:

1. Start where your students are.

2. Know where your students are going.

3. Expect to get your students to their goal.

4. Support your students along the way.

5. Use feedback to help you and your students get better.

6. Focus on quality rather than quantity.

7. Never work harder than your students.

Using these principles, Jackson shows you how to become a master teacher no matter where you are in your practice. Each chapter provides a detailed explanation of one of the mastery principles, the steps you need to take to apply them to your own practice, and suggestions for how you can begin practicing the principle in your classroom right away. Jackson offers stories from her own teaching practice, as well as from other teachers she has helped, to show you how each principle works. Teaching is a hard job, but using Jackson's principles will help you and your students reap the rich rewards of that hard work.


The Gift

I loved being in Dr. Benn’s English 301 class. Sure, we were learning pretty boring stuff—past participles, nominative predicates, and the like; but, something about the way he parsed a sentence seemed, well, profound. It was as if he were unlocking the very secret of language itself. I’m not kidding. We would sit in his class in rapt attention for 90 minutes straight. Sometimes, I think I even forgot to breathe.

It wasn’t just the way he explained some obscure phrase in a poem that did it. No. He made us feel smart. He had a way of asking questions that led us to the discovery of the answer ourselves. Years later, I realize that he was using Socratic questioning; but, as a college freshman, I just thought he had it. He had the gift.


Five minutes into talking to Sarah and I knew she had “the gift.” It was more than just her enthusiasm—I’d seen that plenty of times before. It was that she literally vibrated with a love for teaching. I watched her eyes light up as she shared how she got to know each of her students individually and learned to tailor her instruction to their needs. Her voice quivered with excitement as she talked about the growth her students made by the end of the year. The interview went on for 20 more minutes, but I had already decided to hire Sarah. She had the gift.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.