Peter Radford tells it as it is. With disarming honesty, he leads us into Love Teaching, Keep Teaching by informing the reader that he has quit the profession and by explaining exactly why. He does not spare himself and you soon realise that his own experiences have moulded the structure of the book. It starts with self-reflection and self-care, moves into a critical analysis of school leadership and finishes by taking a global perspective on what the education system needs to address in order to stay relevant.
This is a bold proposition - and it works. The blend of personal experiences, positive and negative, is narrated with skill. The book is brought alive by drawing on sources way beyond conventional teacher education books, ranging from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance through to That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea.
Love Teaching, Keep Teaching could not be more timely. The need for self-care is greater than ever as those in the classroom wrestle with adjusting to new ways of teaching that are counterintuitive and laden with uncertainty. This extends way beyond work into teachers' social and family lives, too - which also contributes to rising stress levels. All those working in schools right now are searching for professional and emotional lifelines, as they aren't being provided elsewhere.
The book has been written in an accessible style that will appeal to teachers and school leaders alike. It is invitational rather than didactic and lends itself to being read in an armchair because it is talking to you. Furthermore, the exercises - which serve as vital barometers to check our own wellbeing - can be undertaken privately and reflectively. Yet the learning takes us right back to what's happening in school and how positive cultures can be nurtured successfully.
This is a refreshing change from the canon of teaching manuals anchored in current English government policy with its reductionist focus on a knowledge-rich curriculum and behaviour regimes that render students as passive vessels to be filled. Here is a book that will take you above the fray and empower those working in schools.