Bill Hoatson did a great job presenting his Parent/Student success lecture. He was very inspiring and informative. He spoke with a down home touch that was easy to understand. I have worked with children with disabilities for a long time, but I have never heard such an inspiring lecture. I look forward to another lecture and another book.
Marshall Williams
Administrator- Quincy, Fl

Bill's Books

Support and learn about Bill's efforts to instill his humane and effective teaching methods, in the home and in the school, by purchasing one of his books.

Transform the school, transform society.


Poverty and school performance

As a teacher I have developed a high interest in economic household data, because over the years I have come to realize what a profound effect poverty or wealth has on the educational development of a child. Some counties in this country have very high poverty rates, which means that some schools are dealing with a lot of children that come from homes under financial stress, some of it extreme. Leon and Gadsden County both have poverty rates around 25%, which is a lot of struggling families feeding into the public school system.

Preventing Failure

One of my favorite phrases that I have written about several times, because it is so true and enlightening, is "success breeds success." As a teacher or parent, it is also important to understand that the opposite is also very true, and also very enlightening, and that is that "failure breeds failure." There is not a parent alive that sends their child off to school every morning hoping that their child comes home a "failure." Unfortunately, the way many schools are set up, this is exactly what happens. It doesn't have to be this way.

Teacher vs. Computer

As computers become more and more commonplace in schools at all grade levels and are used more frequently to supplant teachers in instruction, it is worth the time to examine the ramifications for this trend, good and bad.

Master the basics FIRST

Not too long ago I ran into a young man at the credit union that I had taught years before. We talked for a couple of minutes waiting in line, then he moved to the open teller to cash a check. He looked at the teller and said, "You know, Mr. Hoatson taught me how to do this." I made some comment about the fact that I should get 10%, we all laughed, and I went on my way. As a teacher, there is absolutely no better feeling in this world than seeing what you have taught being used by somebody in real life, and realizing that those skills have made that person's life better.

What teachers REALLY do.

The more I read about politicians and bureaucrats trying to enforce "accountability" down teachers throats by tying test scores to their pay and labeling teachers and entire schools as successes or failures based on said test scores, I am left wondering if these people know what teachers actually do all day? Part of my very large gripe with high-stakes testing and the draconian judgment that these tests are wrongly being used for, is that they don't reflect the reality of the teacher's world.

Creativity and Academics

One of a human being's greatest attributes, both in furthering the very richness of life experiences and as the foundation for survival as a species, is its ability to be creative. There is a growing belief among educators that creativity is probably the single most desirable trait in a child to being a successful adult and a contributor to society. If this is true, then it would seem that schools should be specifically set up to foster and nurture creativity in children.

Praise as Drop-Out Prevention

Every school has children who don't behave very well. Most of the time it is the garden variety child foolishness that is easily dealt with, but sometimes the behaviors can be very disruptive, dangerous or violent. Many schools use in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension to separate the disruptive child from the other students so that education may continue for the majority. This is all well and fine for the majority of students and their teachers, but is often a disaster for the misbehaving child. Over decades of teaching I determined two things.

Discussing Homework

Homework. As a topic, it seems innocent enough. Almost all school children, parents and teachers have to deal with it in some form or another. I have taught school for decades and the longer I have taught and the more interactions that I have had with children and parents, the more I have come to realize that the topic of homework is probably one of the most controversial ones in education. It is so controversial that nobody ever really talks about it in a systematic way, it is just simply done haphazardly, according to desires of the individual educator.

Teaching vs. Testing

There are several reasons why the debate over testing children in schools is heating up, and why many parents, teachers and school districts are starting to push back against state mandated tests. There are many questions surrounding testing, but one of the most pertinent ones is how much testing is too much for children? This is an excellent question and needs to be thought through carefully, because teaching and testing are two very different things and the differences are important.

Behavior and Academics

Legislators are putting pressure on students, teachers and parents for ever increasing student academic performance to the exclusion of almost all else. I believe that their focus is somewhat misplaced. Academic success is important, but if you want to get there I believe that the focus should be on a child's behavior.


A lot of kids have turned complaining about life into an art form. I don't really care as long as it is done on paper, using correct grammar. The heck with a teacher's aide. What every classroom really needs is a school psychologist. Preferably two.
Professor Johnson Unhinged - Section on Teaching

7 Minute Lecture Series


01. Introduction
(7 minute Lectures)

02. How to Create a Dropout
(Positive Behavior Shaping)

03. The Phone Call
(Reward Effort)