Book Review: The Practically Perfect Teacher (Jackie Beere)

PerfectTeacherBookAuthor: Jackie Beere OBE (Twitter: @JackieBeere)

The main aim of any teacher is to support pupils to be the very best they can be. The perfect teacher aims to consider how to be the very best teacher you can be, not just for the inspectors or your line manager, but for your pupils – because there is nothing better than delivering great lessons that inspire them. Helping youngsters, for whom you may be the only hope, to develop a motivation to learn and encouraging them to experience the excitement of achieving great results is life changing stuff and worth getting up for.

Awarded an OBE for her services to education, Jackie Beere has crafted together an engaging book with four detailed chapters full of principles which can be applied to those tasked with developing an understanding and knowledge in others. Supporting this, the book includes other useful resources which help teachers measure their ‘growth mindset health check’, a ‘tracking tool for performance management’, and other assessment tools, including a pupil self assessment table for writing.

Beere found inspiration from a speech given by J. K. Rowling, where she spoke of strength and resilience created by failures and surviving adversity:

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way.*

Drawing a lot on John Hattie’s work, the first chapter asks that teachers frame your own mind, to think on purpose. Exploring seven carefully considered mindsets, becoming the bedrock of your practice, Beere challenges authors to reflect on their teaching styles improving self confidence in your own abilities, and that of your pupils.

Creating rapport for learning is essential, Beere argues, as nothing is more important than the relationships your build with your classes – we are reminded never to underestimate the effect you have on your pupils. The relationships built couldn’t be more important to maximise progress made by pupils.

Literacy, and literacy skills, are vital, with Beere advocating that these are core skills and should be taught and modelled in every lesson and every subject. With the inclusion of a handy action-list within the book, the crux of the message is to inspire by being inspiring – challenge and feedback, but also to work beyond comfort zones.

The book concludes with a call that teachers sustain their passion and purpose – never stop learning! Quite rightly, the book supports teachers embracing digital technology and social media; collaborate with others, and; coaching yourself and others to thrive in adversity. Never give up trying to make a difference, Beere concludes, as what teachers do in classrooms will help learners grow into creative, adaptable, industrious and caring people. Teachers are in a privileged position, and it is our responsibility to ensure that we “be the change you want to see”, especially when faced with all the changes the education system throws at teachers.

Our opinion: A nicely written, digestible book that helps and inspires teachers – perhaps reminding some people of the reasons they started on the career path of teaching. Beere reminds us the importance of the job undertaken by teachers, with key reminders of main habits of being an effective teacher.

* Full speech at: http://www.huntingenglish.com/2013/04/27/failing-with-confidence/

The Practically Perfect Teacher, written by Jackie Beere is published by Crown House Publishing Limited, and the book is also available at Amazon, priced at £12.99**

* Full speech at: http://www.huntingenglish.com/2013/04/27/failing-with-confidence/

** Price correct at time of publication.

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