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Omar Akbar is a science teacher at a secondary school in Birmingham and author of the bestselling NQT guide The (Un)official Teacher's Manual and Bad School Leadership.
Making the education system work for you and your pupils | The success of this book lies in the title. It is both readable and relatable. It is a book suitable for all teachers in all sectors and in all stages of their career. For the NQT it offers advice and guidance in a very practical approach and for the more experienced teacher, who may well have had similar thoughts or used some of Akbars suggestions and ideas in their own approach, it offers recognition and is an assuring affirmation. It is really refreshing to be offered realistic solutions. So many teachers’ manuals are packed with idealistic ideas, that sadly do not work in the real world. Some of his ideas are simple and might seem obvious, but as with most things, one often misses the obvious. For example… • ’don’t assume, teach from scratch’. • Remember the importance of ‘grit’ for a child. Give them the chance to achieve independently, before wading in. • There are certain rules not to break, such as the school’s rules on planning, grading and recording. • In a time of inspection… ‘get your shit ready. It is only two days; they’ll be gone soon!’ It was lovely too that the author, being a teacher himself, demonstrated a real understanding and acknowledgement of worth. I liked his reference to ‘teachers and civilians’. He also talked about how teachers are ’remembered’ many years later by their pupils and it is the teachers own inspiration and passion that are the cause of this. This book is like a paperback comfort blanket, offering advice, reaffirming belief and understanding, in what is both a rewarding but often stressful profession.