Lessons Learned #4: Read

I wrote on Sunday that reading more is one strategy I’ve adopted to nurture my identity. And a couple of days before that I explained how I’d missed some vital information by not reading the mathematics curriculum document in its entirety.

Something I’ve learned is that I need to read more. Or in some cases just read at all.

Sometimes I’veĀ been busy creating stuff, that I’ve forgotten to take time out to take in the stuff that other people have created. Whether it’s blogging, posting, tweeting, or monitoring and observing, or planning and marking – there’s always so much to write.

And I’ve been guilty of creating so much stuff that I end up only listening to my own voice, and then my perception can get skewed.

Last Summer I began to recognise the pattern I’d got into and I read my first book on teaching in about five years. It was Teacher Geek, by Rachel Jones (@rlj1981 on Twitter). I really quite enjoyed it. It was so refreshing to hear a different voice offering some different ways of doing things.

And of course, the seminal read for all teachers in September 2015 was The Final Report from the Commission on Assessment without Levels, which I mentioned when writing about the problem with the old best-fit approach a couple of weeks ago. It doesn’t sound like a good read does it? But if you’ve been struggling with mad, over-bureaucratic assessment systems, then reading this report is like drinking a long, cold glass of Pimms on a hot Summer’s day: refreshing and slightly giddying.

And since then I have been reading more: teacher stuff and fiction and it’s been good. I could write a lot more about this, but I need to go off and practice what I preach… Now, where’s that book?

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