So, I was approached by John Catt Educational to write a book, which was lovely, but also a bit scary. I mean, what do I have to say in 70,000 words that I don’t already say in 1,500? Seriously, what would I write about? I don’t pretend to be an expert on anything, and those subjects on which I do feel at least more qualified to speak – history teaching and behaviour management, for example – are already rather ubiquitous in terms of the literature available. And who would buy it? This was the second time I’d been approached and, for the second time, I didn’t think I had an angle, or at least one that might be of interest to anyone.
I try to write about things which are important, but in a slightly sassy, punchy and occasionally humorous way: I set out my stall but I’m hesitant where necessary because it’s just very bloody difficult to be certain about much in education. I mean, I’m sure that behaviour is the most important thing a school needs to get right, but there are always exceptions to the rule (you know, that boy who keeps spilling acid on the hamsters but gets an A* in Health and Social Care …), and so I’d rather not be too dogmatic. After all, whilst my principles have never changed I’ve certainly been wrong in the past about all sorts of ways and means.
And here’s the other thing: I didn’t want to write about teaching. Does that sound silly? I’m not saying I want to write a great big novel (although I do!), but I really didn’t want to write about practice and policy. Maybe one day I will, but I figured that if I was going to write anything it would have to be something that reflected what I’ve done so far on this blog. Something both hard-hitting and silly, full of chuck-the-book-out-the-window and oh-God-that-happened-to-me moments: a book that will make people laugh and sigh and rage.
So I’ve gone for a rather niche, but exciting, route. Show and Tell is the completely true story of what I have seen in schools over the last seven years, retold fictionally as a mockumentary. I don’t want to give too many details away, but I will say that every day I remember – or am reminded of – some other ridiculous, or touching, or infuriating moment in the five schools I’ve worked in. It should be with you by the beginning of the summer.