It's taken me a long time to write my book, Strictly Positive Teaching, and it's taken quite a few months to get from the stage of finishing it and publishing it in a few short days.
Every so often over the last two and a half years there have been reports in the press of the unrelenting nature of the burden on our young people of academic expectations and societal pressures, and each time I have wondered if measures would be taken to address these issues, and thereby render what I have to say redundant. But time and time again there is handwringing and then nothing really happens.
School budgets continue to be unbearably stretched, the demands on schools are getting no lighter and mental health problems are, if anything, getting worse.
Not enough is said about the suicides of young people who can't cope, and less is being done.
Surely it is up to all of us who are privileged to have a role in the lives of children and adolescents to do what we can in our life and work to try and help. We are teachers, not social workers or healthcare professionals, and it is as teachers that we can do our bit to help, by making kindness a bigger part of classroom and school life. We can do this by effecting a few simple tweaks to our practice.
Through the last two and a half years, I have waited for another book to come out which does what I've been trying to do, which would have meant I could stop reading and thinking and writing and rewriting and rereading and proofreading and rethinking and rewriting, and just continue to teach my own classes in my own way. But none arrived, so I left teaching, which is too all-consuming (at least for me) to allow me to write effectively, and got a part-time job, and I've finally finished.
The philosophies, techniques and ideas in my book cost little, if anything, to put into practice, and can bring about a dramatic change in our classrooms. Many professionals will conclude that they already use many of them in their classrooms every day, but I hope that most will find something, if only a tweak in a couple of places, which they can usefully accommodate in their existing practice.
I really hope that using at least some of the ideas and techniques introduced and explained in Strictly Positive Teaching will change some teachers' experience of teaching for the better and make their professional practice more positive, kinder, healthier and happier.
I'll continue to post content here and I hope that you enjoy what you read. I hope also to get out to more and more educational establishments to talk about the messages in my book. Please get in contact if you're interested at firstname.lastname@example.org
Keep your fingers crossed for me!