Teaching must be one of the few professions in the world where those resigning say that it isn™t the job itself “ classroom teaching “ that is causing them to leave. In the first sentence of his introduction to Love Teaching, Keep Teaching, Peter Radford states that ˜Teaching is the best job in the world™, despite his suffering from burnout and leaving the profession. This paradox underpins his book.
Peter Radford™s honest account of why and how he left the job he loved asks questions of the education system, of those who lead schools, and of us as individual teachers. It considers the responsibility we have to take care of ourselves and to prioritise using our energy and passion in the classroom, where it matters, and the reason we went into teaching in the first place. It contains a wealth of suggestions about how we can look after our mental health better and spend more time with those closest to us. In that sense, it is a self-help book.
But Love Teaching, Keep Teaching offers much more, too. It challenges us to take an objective look at what education is for, at our schools™ priorities, and at the amount of time we are expected to spend on administration and management tasks. Peter Radford charges school leaders with the responsibility of taking care of the wellbeing and mental health of their staff and suggests ways in which this can be achieved. The alternative, he argues with conviction, is to run the risk that teachers will exhaust themselves trying to meet the expectations of the exam system, of the school™s leadership, of the countless tasks unrelated to teaching and of a high-stakes accountability system which values judgement over support.
If you are thinking of resigning and you love teaching, Peter Radford™s book might support you to keep teaching, at least while you look for another school that values you more. If you are happy in your school and cared for, Love Teaching, Keep Teaching will enable you to evaluate how you approach the job you love and give you guidance to make you love it even more. Either way, Peter Radford™s book should be on the shelves of every staff library and in the hands of every teacher to read and then dip into throughout their teaching career.
Steve Waters, founder and CEO, Teach Well Alliance
Discover Love Teaching, Keep Teaching here.