Making Your Teaching Something Special

50 Simple Ways to Become a Better Teacher

By: Rushton Hurley
Making YourTeaching Something Special

Educational inspirational speaker Rushton Hurley collected fifty ideas in short, two- to three-page chapters, bringing them together in a book designed to inspire teachers to try something new to reach the next student. It is organized into five areas (rapport, assignments and assessments, delivery, collegiality and professionalism, and logistics), and each area finishes with discussion items for professional learning teams. The stories and advice combine for both practical and philosophical avenues for improving any teacher’s efforts.

About the Author

Rushton Hurley

Rushton Hurley

Rushton Hurley holds graduate degrees from Stanford University, is heavily involved in service efforts in his community, and has worked and studied on six continents as a high school Japanese language teacher, principal of an online high school, a teacher trainer, and a speaker. He founded and is executive director of the educational nonprofit Next Vista for Learning, which houses a free library of videos by and for teachers and students at

What People are Saying

Making Your Teaching Something Special is the perfect companion to Making Your School Something Special. It goes without saying that teachers will find a plethora of gems in this second offering, and as in its predecessor, there is something for everyone who is determined to “guarantee each year will be the best year of a teacher’s career.” This is the top of my list as recommended reading for our instructional coaches, consultants and the teachers they support in our teacher induction program and with all teachers in our school division. Hurley colours his very practical and very real situations faced by teachers with great examples and pictures, taking the book beyond being a resource, but into the realm of being a very enjoyable read. I really love his writing style and can literally hear him speaking as I am reading. – Aubrey Patterson – Superintendent, Lloydminster Catholic School Division

Rushton Hurley’s Making Your Teaching Something Special provides 50 succinct and well-crafted chapters that address many key elements for educators. Why not start your next PLC or professional development activity by reading a chapter and talking about the suggested discussion items? In just a few moments your team will be focused on best practices and student-centered pedagogy. – Emily Garrison – Educational Technology and Libraries Coordinator, Palo Alto Unified School District

As a K-8 school principal, I believe that Making Your Teaching Something Special is a must-read for all teachers…Rushton’s concrete examples and perspective are sure to inspire and rejuvenate. Whether new to teaching or seasoned educators, all teachers would benefit from Rushton’s comprehensive collection of relevant advice. The discussion questions that follow each unit can lead to meaningful professional conversations that are sure to make any school something special. – Hadar Dohn – Sager Principal, Solomon Schechter Day School of Metropolitan Chicago

Other Interesting Reads

Making Your School Something Special

Rushton Hurley

making your school something special

What Makes Your School Special? If you’re a teacher, you want your students to love coming to class. If you’re a school leader, you want your teachers to love coming to work. So how do you make your school a place where students and teachers alike want to be—because it’s where they feel energized, inspired…special? In Making Your School Something Special, educator and international speaker Rushton Hurley explores the mindsets, activities, and technology that make for great learning.

The Conference Companion

Becky Green


Teachers and learners: At a multi-day conference? Faculty meeting? Seminar? Listening to a podcast? Wherever you are learning, whatever your doodle comfort level, this jovial notebook is your buddy. Grab a pencil, pen, crayon, or quill. Sketchnotes, doodles, and creative play await both you and your students. Part workshop, part journal, and part sketchbook, these simple and light-hearted scaffolds and lessons will transform your listening and learning experiences while providing creative inspiration for your classroom.