This book, which was recommended by two colleagues of mine, was a true light of optimism, in the tunnel of despair surrounding teachers and schools. John Tomsett calls for all those involved in education to find the courage to develop a leadership-wisdom which emphasises love over fear and happiness over stress. Truly great schools don’t suddenly exist, they take time and patience to evolve. You grow great teachers first, who, in turn, grow a truly great school. A simplistic view, but in my opinion very true.
John strongly believes that if the head teacher is out of the classroom and not teaching, or engaged in helping others to improve their teaching, then they are missing the point. *Hear, hear!* The only thing head teachers need obsess themselves with is improving the quality of teaching, both their colleagues’ and their own. Having had the opportunity to be with such head teachers, who have not left the classroom completely, makes me second Tomsett’s point. Not only does this allow for the head teacher to understand both the teachers’ and children’s needs within a school, but still keeps them as part of the teaching team.
‘This Much I Know about Love Over Fear’ is a well-written, personal narrative of teaching, leadership and discovering what really matters in education. It gets to the heart of what is valuable in teaching and offers advice to those in school. I especially enjoyed Chapter 9 Lessons, beginning with the quote by Tom Bodett:
“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson.”
Tomsett, talks about the need for freedom in planning and ditching times on plans, how using a set plan every year doesn’t work and how a lesson plan is like a map. You need to know where you are going and plan different routes, accordingly.
I’ll leave you with some lines from the book, where John Tomsett quotes Professor Chris Husbands:
“We can all teach well and we can all teach badly. Even good teachers teach some lessons and some groups less well; even the struggling teacher can teach a successful lesson on occasion. More generally, we can all teach better: teaching changes and develops. Skills improve. Ideas change. Practice alters. It’s teaching, not teachers.”
It’s all in the teaching.
Till next time…