The lessons and wisdom from teachers who have been in the profession for longer than they care to remember are often scoffed upon, especially by politicians who scorn attitudes that don’t respect their latest educational policy whim. “We’ve seen it all before…” can usually be heard from these experienced teachers who have mainly seen it all before – with very little surprising them.
Indeed, many young entrants into the profession can learn more about their profession by listening to stories and tips from experienced colleagues, who mainly are there to support and advise, but it can seem that older colleagues are fascists, mean-spirited, not all warm and fuzzy but one thing is for certain – most teachers simply want their kids to do the best they possibly can. In fact, Ned Manning is yet to meet a teacher who wants their kids to fail.
In his reflective, autobiographical book, Manning takes us on a journey (starting with a school trip to China); a teaching journey through his early teaching experiences in Australia giving us great insights to experiences which help define the experienced educator he – and many others – became. Observations such as kids having the most amazing bull**** barometers; how legislation cannot stop a lot of things going on in schools because school are populated (mainly) by human beings; or how staff rooms are not conducive to work – being noisy volatile places.
Manning’s journey of his teaching is an insightful, inspiring read, but it’s the observations so eloquently made that make you stop, think and relate to your own experiences – it’s a celebration about teaching… “Teaching takes you into people’s worlds in a way few other occupations can. You see a lot and hear a lot…It’s often intense and you see side to [students] that no one else sees. You see private moments when they’re in their own worlds…Often you are all but invisible to your students”. Yet, teachers are undermined and undervalued in many societies, and the systems promotes it – yet Manning shows how, without any doubt whatsoever, teaching is one of the best jobs in the world. This is what can happen when you embrace the world of the unexpected. The world of teaching. This witty, easy-read will resonate with experienced teachers, but also be of value to early career colleagues who will enjoy how Manning guided his students with directional nudging and empowerment – supporting their journeys of self-discovery, skills, talents and passions hidden within.
Playground Duty by Ned Manning is published by Newsouth Publishing available on Amazon Kindle at bit.ly/playgroundduty at £18.21* and on iBooks at bit.ly/playgrounddutyuk (UK) at £12.99* and bit.ly/playgrounddutyaus (Aus) at $19.99*
*Correct at the time of publishing