Slow Teaching by Jamie Thom

Ever feel like you’re rushing headlong through your working day? Constantly compromising? Marking into the early hours?  In his new book Jamie Thom  @teachgratitude1 argues that we can all achieve more by doing less.

Drawing on popular psychology and the latest educational thinking, he sets out a manifesto for an altogether more considered approach to teaching. Keenly focused on improving student outcomes, the book promises to help us find “calm, clarity and impact in the classroom”. Who doesn’t want some of that? 

The book is really user-friendly. Each of the 21 chapters is clearly organised into sections and ends with a few questions to help the reader reflect on the content and how it applies to their situation. I was struck by how well thought through and expressed each section is; Jamie has a gift for getting to the nub of the matter. There are sections on Slow Talk, Slow Relationships, Slow Classroom Strategies, Slow Teacher Improvement, Slow Wellbeing and Slow Leadership. Each one is thought-provoking and refreshing. 

I was pleased (of course) to find a dedicated wellbeing section, and indeed the entire book struck me as a kind of treatise on wellbeing. Doing a good job, making a difference and achieving something feeds wellbeing more sustainably than any number of scented candles or thank you notes. Before the angry tweets arrive, I am not against expressions of gratitude, but if you are not able to exercise mastery and autonomy at the very demanding work we have chosen to do, the occasional thank you note won’t keep you in the classroom.

Both early career teachers and more experienced colleagues will find plenty of food for thought. Jamie is a secondary English teacher, but this book is not subject specific, and as a primary teacher I found myself nodding along with much here. In fact, I have been implementing the ideas on teacher talk with my Year 5.  In short, this is a great addition to any CPD library.

Slow Teaching: On finding calm, clarity and impact in the classroom by Jamie Thom is published by John Catt Educational.

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