How much is a student-centered school classroom like a good restaurant? Plenty, John Hayward shows, as he walks us through the thinking, steps, and elements of the high-quality teaching involved in creating such a learning experience – quoting a savvy pair of sandwich-shop owners along the way. New teachers will appreciate the cheer-leading and concepts that this excellent, deeply experienced teacher provides. And veteran teachers will grab onto many of the thoughtful strategies Hayward shares. I already used one of them just as soon as I read about it!

Steve Zemelman, Founding Director of the Illinois Writing Project, co-author of Best Practice: Bringing Standards to Life in America’s Classrooms, and most recently author of From Inquiry to Action: Civic Engagement with Project Based Learning in All Content Areas


   Hayward has written a guide that both new and veteran teachers should follow if they want to truly make a difference in their students' lives. Hayward creates a unique analogy that showcases just how important it is for teachers to not only respect but celebrate their students. Using his extensive experience in the classroom, he shares a series of concrete behaviors that bring introspection, observation, adjustment and connection with students to the forefront. 

             Dr. Rebecca Deurlein, author of Teenagers 101:
             What a top
teacher wishes you knew about helping
             your kid succeed


   Hayward’s respect for learning, his desire to connect teachers and students in meaningful encounters, is evident on every page. The many “relationships first” strategies afford readers a unique and empathetic perspective on students’ lives. To reach any audience and to inspire our students, we must first learn who they are and what beliefs and assumptions motivate them. By sharing stories that reveal students’ humanity, Hayward implores educators to risk serving them. This hopeful book asks us to think how a metaphor as humble as food, and as pleasurable as a memorable evening at a superb restaurant, can spark us to better classroom practices.

Dr. Jennifer Jackson, Chair, Department of English, North Central College, with scholarship in rhetoric and composition pedagogy, administrative expertise on reading and writing in the liberal arts, and 37 years teaching undergraduate students.