I first discovered Jim's writing as a trainee teacher and have been hooked ever since. As a past student of Jim myself I was intrigued to see how the excellent teaching I had received from him would translate into providing guidance for teachers and more importantly whether I could emulate the -˜Really Lazy Teacher' philosophy myself.
Needless to say upon reading the book I was not disappointed. Jim takes an at times testing and difficult profession, strips away all the unnecessary complexities and takes his advice back to leave teachers with tools to approach what really matters, really excellent teaching (in a really lazy way!). He does this by doing the unheard of in most educational literature, encouraging us to do less teaching!
Amongst other teaching literature on the market the book stands out as a refreshing alternative that looks beyond subject areas and provides all teachers with original, creative, fun and easy to implement ideas to use in the classroom. The activities and strategies provided are transferable no matter what subject or year group you teach and are easily implementable for anyone from a trainee teacher to the head teacher.
Most importantly it guides teachers to put the responsibility of learning back where it should be, with the students.
The Lazy Teacher's Handbook has had a huge impact on my own and colleagues practice providing readers with a toolkit to reduce lesson planning and marking time in order to maximise the time they have with students. Readers can easily dip into the many activity suggestions and apply them to their own subject areas with minimal preparation and maximum impact. Perhaps the most comforting outcome of reading the book is that it is ok to let the students take the lead in their learning. Whilst the practically of always having a handful of short activities up your sleeve when the lesson plan runs short or you are running out of ideas for that tricky class is very welcome. The idea of handing back the learning to students can seem like a farfetched concept in the current educational climate but the impact I have seen it have on learning and the empowerment it has given the young people I work with is immeasurable.
As a teacher it is very easy to get carried away preparing what seem like exciting activities for students which involved hours of preparation from staff (many a late night I have spent tirelessly cutting up card sorts for two minutes of lesson impact). This book reminds teachers that it's the students who should be doing the hard work, not us! And how engaging or how much impact a lesson has on students does not need to be reflected in the number of teacher hours spent planning it or indeed marking and assessing it.
The Lazy Teacher's Handbook really is a philosophy for education and really encourages staff to reflect on their practice and question; what impact will this task have? School leaders who have read the book also are able to guide staff to begin dipping their toe into the wonders of handing learning back to the students and to even go further and structure the curriculum to allow more time for this to happen.
Using the philosophy from this book I have seen students confidence flourish, their academic progress continue to increase and their independence sky rocket. Not to mention it has made being a teacher an awful lot more manageable for me. A small investment in this book is a huge investment in your students learning and the wellbeing of your staff.