Book Review: “The Inspiring Teacher” Bob Sullo

I was given a copy of this great book by my dad last year. After finishing up an incredible career as a teacher and principal, he actually gifted this book to all of his staff. I loved the simple title of the book; “The Inspiring Teacher – Making a Positive Difference in Students’ Lives”. I know most of us are doing this on a daily basis, but sometimes it’s great to either get some affirmation about what it is you do inside your classroom, or gain a better understanding of what you should be doing more of. I walked into school a very different teacher after reading this book. I was particularly interested in the parts about adolescent cognitive development – and so relieved that it’s written in a concise and accessible way.  I think by reading more about the way teenagers develop, in terms of moral reasoning, cognitive and psychosocial issues, I was able to have a more open heart and mind in the classroom and be more mindful of the important changes they are coping with. The section titled “Qualities of an Inspiring Teacher” is a collection of attributes that Sullo claims most gifted teachers share. Although there is no formula, he outlines the following attributes;

  • Develop positive relationships
  • Be passionate about learning
  • Show enthusiasm for what you teach
  • Match words and actions
  • Love and appreciate children
  • Be professional
  • Be open-minded

Overall, Sullo gives an excellent summation of William Glasser’s Choice Theory and explores internal versus external motivation. He offers loads of practical ideas for the classroom that actually work and I highly recommend this book – especially if you’re feeling like you could do with a little inspiration yourself! A fantastic quote from the book:

“Beyond the mandates and inconveniences, think of what transpires in our classrooms. We unlock hearts and minds. We open eyes. We inspire greatness in our students. Don’t be discouraged by obstacles. When all is said and done, the magic of teaching takes place in the interaction between you and your students. No test, no legislation, no policy can ever deny you the ability to inspire your students” – Bob Sullo

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