Guest Blogger: @ListerKev
The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook, written by Jim Smith and edited by Ian Gilbert has been around for a few years now (published in 2010). In the book itself Jim Smith readily acknowledges that the title may be a little controversial but the intent is not to encourage teachers to be lazy in the sense that they are putting their feet up, being complacent and watching their classes flounder. The aim is really to encourage teachers to make the most of the resources, ingenuity and general creativeness that a class full of children provide. The idea is that the students themselves can be used as a learning, planning and assessing resource to maximise the benefit to learning without spending massive amounts of time planning, assessing and all those other things teachers do on a day to day basis.
Really the entire book is aimed at making sure that the focus of teacher input is on learners learning, rather than teachers teaching; essentially working smarter rather than harder.
There are loads of ideas in this book, ranging through lesson planning/structuring, setting lesson outcomes, using IT, differentiation, marking and deploying teaching assistants. Some of the ideas are more instantly suited to certain subjects, but there is certainly something in there for everyone, from plenaries, to mains , to starters. It is written in an easily accessible, conversational tone, and is suitable as an extended read or to dip into for reference on specific topics.
The chances are that if you are a switched on teacher and you read this book you’ll probably recognise some of the ideas as things you already do. However I’m also pretty sure that you will also find several ideas that you could try this week or next, and a few more that you can aspire towards as you develop the lazy system further and get the students more used to it.
In truth though the real strength of the book is that it causes you to think about how you teach, and to explain why it so often feels like you’re working substantially harder than the students. Perhaps the result is not really a “lazy” teacher after all, but by reflecting on your practice and making a few tweaks it could lead to a less stressed, possibly even more effective, teacher – which isn’t a bad result at all. Certainly worth a read.
Buy the book here