An entertaining story of the many teachers Fergal Roche, chief executive of The Key, has come across in his long career; each one effective in their own special way, despite their hugely different approaches, ordinary people who have produced an extraordinary impact.
If you are currently a teacher, were once a teacher, or are thinking about becoming a teacher, this book will be like coming to a party. Or if you hate parties, doing something you really love. The message, in a beautifully light and accessible tone, is that teaching is the most exciting and significant job in the world, hugely complex and exhausting, yes, but a role that needs to be mastered over decades of practice.
About the author
As chief executive of The Key, Fergal Roche leads the team to provide outstanding services to its members and ensure the organisation's continued growth and success. With a passion for developing young lives, Fergal started his career as an English teacher before becoming headteacher of three schools between 1995 and 2007. Fergal went on to become strategy and services director for GEMS Education and business development director at VT Education and Skills (now part of Babcock Ltd.), prior to joining The Key. For six years Fergal chaired the board at Saint Gabriel's College - a rapidly improving secondary school in Lambeth - and is a governor of the highly successful George Abbot School, which boasts of achieving in the top 5% of GCSE and A level results in the country. He is also chair of the Guildford Education Partnership Academies Trust. Fergal has a bachelors degree in English and Drama, with QTS, a masters in Education as well as an MBA in business. As an education expert and entrepreneur, Fergal is dedicated to improving the life chances of children and young people. He regularly speaks at education conferences and events across the country.
‘This book is distilled inspiration, a brilliantly easy-to-read reminder of how great teachers have an influence way beyond their knowledge. In illuminating the impact of the teachers of those who influenced him, Fergal Roche serves up an uplifting demonstration of the way teaching is a craft, a vocation, a role driven by moral purpose, and a hugely undervalued set of skills. This is a book to enthuse and inspire. It’s a testament to the intoxicating power of great teachers, to the way they do something so complex whilst making it all seem so apparently effortless.’ Geoff Barton, General Secretary, Association of School and College Leaders
‘Fergal offers fascinating insights into "the art and skill of teaching, its subtleties, it huge challenges." Drawing on his own experience as a school pupil, an undergraduate, a teacher, a leader, a governor and a parent, he presents a series of portraits of memorable teachers to exemplify and encourage reflection on the "alchemy" that takes place between those who teach and those who learn. He describes the immense value of watching and learning from gifted practitioners. Fergal explores, too, what he has learnt from negative role-models - those who seek to entertain rather than to educate. In his view, the best teachers have high expectations and set exacting standards (for themselves and for their students). They are driven, industrious, adept at identifying and nurturing talent, and often have a touch of eccentricity. He shares his feeling of privilege at receiving instruction from such masters of the craft: "It happened, and I was lucky to be there. This book made me remember, made me pause, and made me think.’ Jill Berry, December 2017
‘This is a book unlike any other I have read. It’s not a book that draws on anything other than his rich experience of teaching and teachers. It is an honest and powerful reminder to us all about the joys, challenges and power of our wonderful profession. Uplifting, honest and funny, I was swept along from one chapter to the next. For those moments when what you need is an entertaining read, this is the book for you!’ Andy Buck, Managing Director #honk, Founding Director, Leadership Matters
‘What comes over more than anything for me is the everlasting impact of the work of good teachers on the whole person development of learners. The passion of the teachers for their subject is also strongly felt and readily enthuses learners: indeed, liking a teacher and the enjoyment of a subject are inextricably intertwined.’ Dr Jane Jones, Senior Lecturer, Subject Director MFL Teacher Education, King’s College, London
‘This is a thoroughly engaging book. Heads are often asked the question ‘What makes a great teacher? We all have different opinions in response to that enquiry but Fergal Roche has skilfully distilled the essence of great teaching in this book through his own personal experiences. I thoroughly recommend it to all school leaders, teachers and those thinking of entering the teaching profession.’ Dr Jon Cox, Headmaster, The Royal Grammar School, Guildford
‘The antithesis of a generic, strategic, mantra-mission tome. Instead, an enchanting, profound and very funny book on the nuances of being a fine teacher. A thrilling read.’ Mary Myatt, consultant and author, High Challenge, Low Threat and Hopeful Schools
‘This is a book for all teachers, whether they are just embarking on their first placement or have been in the profession for years. It is also for senior managers and for those who have responsibility for shaping our educational establishments. Reflecting on personal and professional experiences at all stages of his career Fergal ingeniously weaves together insights which illuminate the highly complex and skilled role of the inspirational teacher. He causes us to question anew the essence of what teaching and learning really is and the particularly individual qualities which not only make a teacher unique, but more importantly really effective. The focus on teacher well-being, support and respect for the profession is very timely as we seek to attract and retain high quality and inspirational individuals who truly make a difference to the world in which we live. This is an inspirational and uplifting read, but with many challenging and often sobering messages which all of us who work in education should take note of.’ Sally Eales, Senior Lecturer BEd Primary Education Programmes Leader, University of St Mark & St John, Plymouth
‘Fergal’s experience of education and schools over many years shows us that teachers make a huge difference and teaching is a wonderful job. This book is a great insight into one individual’s experience. I loved it, firstly because it’s such an easy read. Secondly, it is packed with ideas. Thirdly and most importantly, it reminds us that what happens in the classroom is what really makes a difference in our schools ‘Policy comes and goes but the impact of an individual teacher and how they make you feel has a long term impact. I recommend this book not only to teachers themselves but to school leaders and policy makers to help them remember what really matters in education today. Sometimes I think we lose track of that and this is a timely reminder from Fergal… read on.’ Ani Magill CBE, Executive Headteacher, St John the Baptist School, Woking
'Fergal reminds us that really good teaching is not a robotic response to performance tables, targets and data; it can be creative, exciting and sometimes eccentric. This is a delightful book which characterises all that is good and worthwhile about teaching. Its relaxed, anecdotal style makes it a joy to read. Fergal has very cleverly used each of the characters as an introduction to important aspects of teaching and school life. It is upbeat and optimistic, and characterises teaching as an attractive, enjoyable and very fulfilling vocation. It should be on the reading list for all trainee teachers, as well as being occasional reading for experienced teachers, as a reminder of what teaching is all about.' Dr John McIntosh CBE, Vice-Chairman of Council, University of Buckingham; Former Headmaster, The London Oratory School
|No of pages||142|
|Publication Date||11 Oct 2017|