Apart from the blog title being a shameless attempt to get you to read this, I have just been browsing the twitter and blogosphere for educational stories (yes, why? I hear you ask) and retweeted on my own account What we wish we did on our holidays. It got me thinking as I had considered a similar blogpost, but a little more nerdy, just listing and explaining the books that I need to read over the summer.
In reality, the time I get for reading gets squished down into a very tiny amount, and I end up thinking very carefully about what I will completely finish, and what I will usefully browse instead. Having said that, over the last year and particularly last summer, what changed for me is that I got stuck into some books simply on teaching pedagogy, rather than the obligatory novels, academic guff and of course the odd literary biography, worthy intimidating tome etc. Rather like the 15 minute forum itself I found it a highly refreshing and reflective way of preparing for the term ahead.
Let’s face it, when you combine family commitments, catching up with old friends, taking time out for yourself, being with your other half, doing the inevitable classroom sorting at some point, possibly some departmental jobs that you drew the short straw on (yes, moving round book cupboards, sorting last year’s work into new class lists, de-cluttering the team office), the new term will roll on without you feeling you have adequately prepared. And what were you thinking anyway? Were you going to plan every jot and tittle of the first two weeks’ lessons? Or had you dreamt up a whole new system for keeping on top of marking that you were going to implement the first week back?
Think small. Think little changes. If you are going to think at all over the summer! And the best little changes are the ones that we do every day, rather than the big change that never gets off the ground. For this, I’ve put together a short list of books that I read that really did have an impact on my teaching over this last year (and some of these I want to come back to). It really IS worth getting off the treadmill, and creating some space in which your own practice can vividly be paraded in front of you, and you can picture yourself, like the director of some movie in your head, changing a line here, a scene there, bringing in a new character here, creating a different outcome there…
I’ll get that list out the next post, as I have to go and take the kids to the park!