Celebrating Teachers

Making a difference

By: Gary Toward , Chris Henley


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Products specifications
Attribute name Attribute value
Size: 235mm x 156mm
Pages : 192
ISBN : 9781785835568
Format: Paperback
Published: June 2021

Celebrating Teachers: Making a difference, written by Gary Toward and Chris Henley, is a feel-good celebration of all that is great about teachers and teaching – and an exploration of the difference teachers make and how they do it.

Forewords by Ben Bailey Smith (aka Doc Brown) and Sir Anthony Seldon.

Gary Toward and Chris Henley believe that teaching is the best and most important profession. Now, you might argue that it would be medicine that should take that accolade – as medics save lives and mend people. But teachers create lives and make' people. They, in fact, create medics!

This book celebrates the superhero of the classroom: the teacher.

Teachers make a difference, and often that difference is life-changing. In this book, Gary and Chris look at some of the many cases where such a difference has been made and examine exactly what it was that made such an impact on the life of the young person – and they also highlight the key approaches that teachers might want to try out in their own classroom, with their own pupils.

The authors link the real-life case study stories to what educational research and cognitive science tell us, and point the way for all teachers to adopt, adapt and develop these effective strategies and approaches in their own practice.

And, in sharing these inspiring stories, Gary and Chris hope to offer an antidote to the negativity that too often circulates in the media around education and the teaching profession.

An uplifting and insightful read for all teachers and educators.

Picture for author Gary Toward

Gary Toward

Gary Toward is a trainer, keynote speaker and novelist who has previously taught in seven schools countrywide. He was head teacher of three schools in Leicestershire, during which time he co-led a pupil referral unit (PRU) out of special measures.

Picture for author Chris Henley

Chris Henley

Chris Henley is a trainer and keynote speaker who taught for over thirty years in three different secondary schools. Chris is an inspirational teacher who moved on from leading an outstanding languages department to become a senior leader. As assistant head in charge of teaching and learning, he played a major role in two successful Ofsted inspections.


  1. Celebrating Teachers is a collection of insightful stories relating to the impact that teachers often have on learners at all levels. It is an inspirational and at times truly uplifting read, as Gary Toward and Chris Henley share a stimulating take on teaching based on anecdotal evidence from a wide range of contributors alongside their own personal experiences. The real-life teacher–pupil interactions bring the text to life, and the authors also identify and analyse how the teachers’ skills, techniques and personal attributes manage to make ‘the difference that makes the difference’.


    Readers will gain from the free-flowing tales of the skills of the teachers featured, as their stories highlight the emotional side of interaction with the learner that is so crucial. It is an outstanding book, full to overflowing with techniques to help improve interaction, motivation, personal skills and confidence. The extensive and thought-provoking analysis of approaches which have successfully opened up learners’ minds and improved their resilience and tenacity make the text relevant, challenging and inspirational.


    This insightful and easy-to-read book will be of benefit to all teachers in supporting their current practice.

  2. Celebrating Teachers shows exactly why teaching is a wonderful and rewarding career. It shines a light on real teachers, their tireless and motivational work, and how they make a difference every day to so many. The teachers in this book, some of whom I have known personally, are inspirations in many different ways and have inspired thousands of pupils over many years. And teachers, irrespective of different governments, policies and their directions, will continue to do just that. This book is for all those game-changing teachers we are lucky enough to have in our education system.
  3. Chris Henley talks about -˜boomerang lessons' - i.e. those lessons that pupils desperately want to return to. I would describe Celebrating Teachers as a boomerang book which is essential reading for teachers, at any stage of their career, and a good read for everyone else too. I read the book with a smile on my face, knowing that the teachers chosen are just the tip of the iceberg - there are so many other wonderful teachers, all of whom work tirelessly for their pupils. This book leaves you inspired to be a better teacher, and the checklist at the end offers an excellent summary of all the traits that help you to do just that. An uplifting and, at times, emotional read.
  4. Delivered in their trademark style, Gary Toward and Chris Henley's Celebrating Teachers is full of enthusiasm, fun and practical ideas to take away and put into practice. This fabulous collection of memories and stories is a celebration of the impact that great teachers have and an insight into the secrets behind their success. The book is a fitting tribute to the art of relationship building, excellent teaching and effective classroom practice - and a great toolkit of ideas and strategies guaranteed to inspire and motivate.
  5. Having met the authors and read their previous books, it was with great excitement that I opened their latest work: Celebrating Teachers. From the outset, I was inspired - and immediately I thought of ways in which I could use this book with the staff in our school. The book shares a series of powerful testimonies from those who have been inspired by teachers who went the extra mile and tapped into the infinite potential of children's minds.

    It shares timely reminders of the importance of humour, finding time for pupils and building relationships. Add to these the key ingredients of calmness, a variety of teaching styles and techniques and thinking outside the box with unfamiliar or less exciting content to be covered. I also love the notion of -˜boomerang lessons' - those lessons that pupils want to come back to.

    The authors are non-judgemental and provide encouragement for the reader to reflect on their own individual style and techniques. Many of the arguments they make are well known, but equally we need these welcome reminders - for example, that interesting lessons lead to higher levels of engagement and fewer problems around behaviour and concentration. We all benefit from frequent refreshment in order to keep the main thing the main thing. It is easy to become so distracted that we lose sight of rich areas of focus. This book helps us to remember, to celebrate and to enjoy.

    In teaching we need the variety, idiosyncrasies, fun and enjoyment that each teacher brings to the classroom setting in their own unique ways. We also need the unrelenting commitment and positivity shown by the overwhelming majority of school workers. They keep the system functioning and, often in the face of adversity and criticism, inspire the children in their care. The power of the teacher should never be underestimated, and this book helps to remind us of this universal truth.
  6. In Celebrating Teachers, Gary and Chris share a wide range of poignant reminders of the impact we teachers can make - which often extend far beyond academic outcomes. It will be a useful resource for teachers in their early career and for the mentors who will support them.
  7. Spanning from the immediate post-war era through to the recent coronavirus pandemic, the stories and reflections held within this book are uplifting, amusing and thought-provoking.  Written by two distinguished teacher-authors (and boasting a stirring foreword by Ben Bailey Smith), the book covers a range of settings, in which night schools, sports fields and breaktime clubs and more are considered alongside the regular classroom. Celebrating Teachers is simultaneously an insightful handbook and an inspirational guide for all teachers.

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