Working Hard, Working Happy
Cultivating a Culture of Effort and Joy in the Classroom
In this new book from Routledge and MiddleWeb, author Rita Platt shows how you can create a joyful classroom community in which students are determined to work hard, be resilient, and never give up. She describes how to help build students’ purpose, mastery, and autonomy, so they take ownership over their work and develop a growth mindset for success.
Topics covered include:
- Why joy and effort go hand in hand
- How to build a classroom climate of caring and achievement
- Why mastery and goal setting are important
- How to work with differentiated instruction
- How to work with cooperative and collaborative learning
- Why parent-teacher connection is vital
- How to take your practice of joy and effort beyond the classroom
- And much more!
Each chapter includes practical tools, tips, and ideas that you can use immediately to develop these skills in students, so they find more joy and success in the learning process.
Table of Contents
1. Working Hard, Working Happy
2. Joy and Effort, Best Friends Forever
3. Where Everybody Knows Your Name
4. Mastery Matters!
5. Have it Your Way! Differentiated Instruction
6. Social Animals
7. Busting Down the Walls, Building Community Connections
8. Effort and Joy, They’re Not Just for Students!
Rita Platt (@ritaplatt) is a National Board Certified, award-winning teacher. She is a self-proclaimed #edudork with master’s degrees in reading, library, and leadership. Her experience includes teaching learners from preschool through adult in remote Alaskan villages, inner cities, and rural communities. She is currently a school principal, teaches graduate courses for the Professional Development Institute and writes for MiddleWeb.
"If you want to bring more joy into your classroom (and what teacher doesn't?), you can't go wrong with Rita Platt's book, Working Hard, Working Happy. She brings her experience from working in diverse classrooms to bear in offering practical ideas and showing how challenging academic content is not incompatible with fun, laughter, and sanity." — Larry Ferlazzo, teacher, blogger, and author of several books, including Building a Community of Self-Motivated Learners (Routledge)
"Rita Platt’s new book captures the complexities of the teaching career with relevant research while maintaining that "joy and rigor can take many different forms, and there are many different teacher styles or approaches that work to create happy classrooms." This book doesn’t aim to change who you are as a teacher so much as it sets about shining a light on the many paths towards a happy classroom. Teachers will be thrilled to find themselves within the pages of this book, being celebrated and guided in pursuit of a learning environment that works."--Amber Chandler, NBCT, Frontier Central Teachers Association President, and author of The Flexible ELA Classroom and The Flexible SEL Classroom (Routledge)
"Working Hard, Working Happy will help you be a better teacher. The big ideas are research-backed best-practices and the strategies for implementing them are practical and powerful. Whether you read it alone, with a book study group, or as a part of formal professional development, Rita's book is an excellent resource."--Dr. Todd Whitaker, Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Missouri and author of more than 50 books, including the international bestseller What Great Teachers Do Differently
"I've admired Rita Platt's insightful, honest writing for a long time. Now she's written a rare book that equally speaks to novice and veteran educators because it emphasizes the elemental components of learning: effort and enjoyment. Platt's love of teaching is as contagious as it is clear headed, and every reader will benefit from her wise, practical, and impassioned advice."--Robert Ward, author of Teaching the Benefit Mindset
"Rita Platt wrote a book that would be perfect for any teacher, any content area, any grade level. This was one of the most enjoyable reads I’ve had in a long time! As I read this book, I could feel the joy that Platt poured into it. Her love of students, teachers, and education exude from the pages. You will be inspired by her words and the practical ways to infuse happiness in everyday lessons."-- Valentina Gonzalez, ELL Educator and National Consultant
"This is a book every educator - whether veteran, aspiring, or somewhere in between - should read. In fact, if you could only read one book in your whole teaching career, I would recommend this one.
With her engaging style and vast expertise, Rita Platt invites readers to embrace both joy and earnest learning in a classroom where every student (and teacher!) will thrive. In an era where the value of joy is often overlooked and learning targets often go unmet, Platt shows us we don’t have to choose between the pursuit of joy and the pursuit of achievement. Rather, she shows us practical, clever ways to make a happy and accomplished classroom a reality.
Platt offers numerous, varied (and brilliant!) ideas so readers can choose what works best for them. One of my favorite writers in the field, Platt brings strategies to life with clear direction that is grounded in research, paired with helpful exercises, supported with resources, and illustrated with real-world examples. She shares stories from all kinds of classrooms and situations, showing us how happiness can thrive along any teacher’s personal style. Plus, she does this while helping readers maximize important factors like relations with parents, classroom management, differentiation, and more so that all good practices work seamlessly together (instead of separate endeavors that stack up and overwhelm busy teachers). In fact, she even helps us take excess work off our plates (like by dropping certain assignments and purging old clutter).
This book manages to be incredibly comprehensive without being overwhelming. It is a refreshing and groundbreaking read that - fitting for Platt’s theme - is also a joy to read. You could not ask for more from a book, and it is sure to be a game changer for students, teachers, and schools."--Dr. Jenny Rankin, Educator, Speaker, and Author of Sharing Your Education Expertise with the World: Make Research Resonate and Widen Your Impact
"Reading this book, it’s evident that Rita loves teaching – she gets it! Working Hard, Working Happy tells impactful stories and is truly meant to have a lasting and practical impact. She shares insight, asks direct questions, and provides practical guidance and tools, encouraging readers to reflect deeply. A fundamental premise is that joy impacts learning. It’s clear that Rita’s classroom is a joyous place for her students to learn. This book is such a valuable text because it’s designed not just to be read, but for educators to make the ideas their own. I recommend it highly."-- Peggy Brookins, NBCT, President and CEO, National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
"Teachers just beginning their educational career, along with veteran educators, will find the numerous strategies mentioned in this book to be extremely helpful. I can just imagine the voices of teachers gathered together in a PLC (Professional Learning Community) tossing around Rita Platt’s strategies and resources. I can hear a veteran teacher sharing, "I love this idea! I used to do this years ago, but it fell by the wayside when I was juggling so many other things. I can’t wait to start this again tomorrow!"--Meredith Johnson, Teacher and principal with forty years spent placing students first. Learning with marvelous teams of educators in four states and eleven different school settings and creator and moderator of #BookCampPD