As a teacher, I’m usually a bit wary of books written by other teachers suggesting how I could teach because books can sometimes come across as though teachers don’t know how to do the job properly. This book does not take that stance. If anything, it has captured the sense of community that can sometimes get forgotten in education and can be perceived as a motivating, positive read.
This book review was first published in the August 2015 Edition of UKEdMagazine.
You can freely read the magazine online by clicking here.
As I worked through the introduction, which muses on what a Teacher Geek is, it feels as though I was in the author’s living room sharing a cuppa and bouncing ideas; the energy that can be generated through dialogue is alive in the pages of Teacher Geek. It is written in an accessible style, picks up on themes many teachers will identify with and offers an abundance of ideas and tips to try out in classroom practice, with a good balance between analogue and digital suggestions.
A powerful aspect of Teacher Geek is that Rachel offers examples and experiences from her own practice which creates a relationship with the reader. I get the impression that Rachel has not made a concerted effort to do this but rather that it’s a positive side effect of her writing what she’d probably say if she were with you in person. She is clearly a creative practitioner who isn’t afraid to try out different ways of doing things such as reading texts aloud in darkness or building exam writing technique collaboratively through musical chairs. Humble, Rachel notes that the activities she suggests are based on her experience and viewed through her lens as a practicing Teacher – she doesn’t advocate it as exceptional outstanding practice but supports her ideas with what she has observed in her own setting.
For example, when discussing the reading of texts aloud she recognises that although she can’t be inside her students heads the writing produced from this exercise is of good quality. The mixture of ideas supported by anecdote and discussion of practice generally all contribute to the conversational, rather than dictatorial, impression of the book.
Personally, I find the examples interesting and useful but my review is influenced by my primary background and perhaps a lack of exposure to working creatively. However, I think Teacher Geek is a refreshing read for all practising teachers. As someone newer to the profession, I have found it an interesting read with plenty of content to inspire my own practice. If you’re classroom based, I’d recommend. I don’t usually enjoy hints and tips style books but this was a pleasant surprise and will certainly be useful for future reference.
Teacher Geek by Rachel Jones is published by Crown House Publishing, and is available from Amazon in paperback (£16.99*) and Kindle (£10.44*).
Book Review written by Kieran Dhunna Halliwell @Ezzy_Moon