Quick Solutions to 60 Common Challenges

Quick Answers for Busy Teachers: Solutions to 60 Common Challenges 
By Annette Breaux and Todd Whitaker
(Jossey-Bass, 2015 – Learn more)

vonstaden3Reviewed by Laura Von Staden 

In their normal concise style – most chapters are 3 pages long – Annette Breaux and Todd Whitaker have produced another quick read full of useful hints to up your teaching game. If you are a new teacher, you NEED this book; if you are a veteran teacher, you can still benefit from some of the tips in this book.

quick answers von stadenThe book is divided into 5 sections: Challenges with Students, Challenges with Adults, Classroom Management Challenges, Instructional Challenges, and Professional Challenges. There are a total of 60 chapters (one for each challenge), and each chapter is further subdivided into 3 parts: “If This Happens,” “Try This,” and “Don’t Forget.”

Additionally, nearly half of the chapters (27) contain the “Try This” content in both a pdf and pptx format that can be downloaded from the publisher’s website and displayed during a presentation or handed out to teachers during inservices.

The authors suggest that this book could effectively be used by mentors to help their mentees, by administrators at faculty meetings, or by staff development trainers in a workshop setting.

What’s a challenge

Each challenge – from a student being disrespectful to you in front of the class, disagreeing with your administrator, being overwhelmed by the newest technology, to your personal and professional lives interfering with each other – is addressed in a straightforward manner, with quick, simple tips and suggestions on how to deal with the challenge in an effective manner.

In a few instances, the authors provide alternate scenarios to help demonstrate what often happens but may not be effective vs. a better way to handle the situation. There are also a few times when you might want to disagree and suggest that the easier way is okay, because after all we are human.

Breaux and Whitaker see this coming and ask if you would be okay with it if your surgeon or pilot decided it was okay to have a bad day or to take the easier path once in a while, on a day when you happen to be the one having surgery or flying. They stress that the work we do is so important that we must be our best every day, because our students deserve no less.

This book can readily and quickly be read cover to cover. It also can be a handy reference to address specific issues that arise in your role with as a teacher, a mentor, or an administrator. With the available downloads, this book can easily be used in faculty meetings or professional development settings to help improve teaching on a broader scale.

Dr. Laura Von Staden is a Special Education Middle School Teacher in Tampa, Florida. She serves on numerous committees both at her school and within her district and works closely with the local university where she is a Professional Practice Partner and a master mentor. Dr. Von Staden also facilitates both online and face-to-face Professional Development for her school district.

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