Simply the Best

29 Things Students Say the Best Teachers Do Around Relationships

by Kelly Middleton; Elizabeth Petitt



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 4/14/2010

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 8.25x11
Page Count : 216
ISBN : 9781452010038

About the Book

Simply the Best acknowledges the importance of listening to students to inform our efforts in schools.  Schools and teachers can find extensive support for an intentional focus on developing relationships in schools and how these relationships result in improved academic performance, in reducing achievement gaps, and in promoting safe schools and productive learning environments for students.   Students should be more than passive participants in the educational process.  They can articulate teacher behaviors that make a difference for them.  Simply the Best utilizes not only a research voice to identify practices schools should consider around relationships, but also enlists the student voice.  Focus groups of students from elementary, middle and high were interviewed and an array of research using student surveys and perspectives consulted resulting in the identification of twenty-nine (29) practices that characterize the best teachers.  Simply the Best outlines a research and a student perspective considering relationships around the following dimensions:

  • Relationships Around a Moral Imperative
  • Relationships Around Curriculum
  • Relationships Around Instruction
  • Relationships Around Assessment
  • Relationships Around Recovery.


Readers are encouraged to reflect on their experiences as a student, as well as the professional practices in their classrooms or schools.  Eighty (80) ideas geared toward relationship building and the development of a customer service mind-set are shared as suggestions for teachers.  Simply the Best serves as a reminder of the power of the teacher — the power of our words and actions in shaping students' educational experience.  The teacher and student relationship is the foundation for school improvement efforts.  How would students describe those relationships in your school?  How many of the 29 things students say make the best teachers could be commonly observed in classrooms at your school?  Read to see what truly makes a difference for students!

About the Author

Kelly E. Middleton is associate superintendent of Mason County Schools in Kentucky, a district focused on implementing customer service practices and developing relationships with students. He is co-author of the book, Who Cares?  Improving Public Schools Through Relationships and Customer Service.  In addition, he speaks and trains on customer service in public schools and school leadership.  Kelly initiated a collaborative leadership program with Morehead State University to develop the Principal Excellence Program, where he served as coordinator and part-time instructor for a number of the administrative classes. He is also committed to working with pre-service teachers as liaison for Midway College.  As a former high school teacher, coach and principal at all levels, he has worked to improve student achievement in schools and to improve the perception of public schools.


Elizabeth A. Petitt is assistant superintendent of Mason County Schools with job responsibilities that encompass curriculum, instruction, and assessment.  She has twenty-six years of experience in the public school setting, including K-8 teaching experiences, and K-12 district administrative experiences.  Liz is co-author of the book, Who Cares?  Improving Public Schools Through Relationships and Customer Service and has served on the editorial board of the Kentucky Reading Journal.  She has also taught classes as a part-time instructor at Eastern Kentucky University, Indiana University, and Morehead State University.