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Feel Free to Smile

Written by Nikki Cunningham-Smith

Key Stage 2 Key Stage 3

LoveReading View on Feel Free to Smile

A modern behaviour management book detailing honest, real-life experiences and revealing the sense of humour it takes to deal with them

The behaviour management survival guide for new teachers

I love the title, it really sets the scene, as so many of us were given the advice, that as new teachers, we should not smile till Christmas to show a tough and professional approach and a complete lack of familiarity with our pupils. As the author points out in the closing chapter, we should smile, as we have chosen the profession and we are working with rewarding, uplifting, humorous children, and young adults.

This book is written with great honesty and understanding, and without patronising, it manages to read in a supportive and helpful way. The writer demonstrates a great empathy with new teachers and understands the difficulties faced in those first few years when you don’t have experiences to fall back on. I like the way she stresses that if a teacher does give up it is not a whim, but a ‘soul searching decision’ to quit. It is also interesting that she talks about the importance of finding the right school for the teacher. A lot is written about the right school for a pupil, but she also speaks of teachers leaving the profession, not because they cannot do their job, but because the school, its principles and ethos are not right for them.

It is packed with lots of amusing and relatable anecdotes from an array of NQTs including some from the author. 

The book is divided into chapters dealing with the various elements of behavioural management, including relevant examples, tips on how to manage such problems as embarrassment or losing control of a lesson, and a section called ‘reflective space’ with room to record your own scenarios and experiences. All this information is so helpful to any teacher, not just new ones; teaching us the importance of being able to laugh at yourself and just as the children do, to learn from our mistakes.

A refreshing and helpful guide book for all teachers.

Rosie Watch

Feel Free to Smile Synopsis

When bad behaviour threatens to derail lessons and undermine teaching, it's easy to feel like you've run out of solutions. Enter: Nikki Cunningham-Smith. With her comforting sense of humour, wealth of experience and ability to see positives in even the most nightmarish of classroom scenarios, Nikki encourages early career teachers to reflect on their practice, take care of their mental health and implement behaviour management strategies that really work.

Feel Free to Smile draws on anecdotes from Nikki's time as a teacher in alternative provision settings, as well as contributions from fellow professionals and current NQTs such as Ross Morrison McGill, Vivienne Porritt, Kemi Oloyede and Sarah Mullin. It provides practical strategies, tips and quick fixes for dealing with difficult behaviour and keeping your cool in testing situations. With advice on all aspects of behaviour, as well as reflective questions and space to jot down your thoughts, this book is the perfect companion if you're feeling daunted by challenging behaviour and looking for an experienced voice to help lead the way.

Feel Free to Smile Press Reviews

This is a refreshing, honest and empowering book about behaviour management. It provides clear strategies to build your behaviour playbook and the range of case studies help to reassure those at the start (and well into) their teaching careers. -- Andy Taylor - Senior Lecturer in Primary Education, @MrTs_NQTs

This book is an absolute gem! Funny, human, practical and empowering: Nikki Cunningham-Smith provides anecdotes which all of us can relate to, showing us that we are not alone, and that working with young people is a gift, even if it might test us sometimes! Paired with research overviews and the clear expertise and skill of the writer, this is a great option for early career teachers everywhere. Joyous! -- Jennifer Webb - Teacher, senior leader, speaker and author, @FunkyPedagogy

Nikki Cunningham-Smith explores the importance of developing behaviour management skills which will enable children to thrive in the classroom. Nikki provides a plethora of case studies, practical tips and honest reflections which cover a range of real-life scenarios. This book will have you laughing out loud at some of the unexpected events that take place in classrooms across the country every single day. To be forewarned is to be forearmed! -- Sarah Mullin - Award-winning deputy headteacher, author of 'What They Didn't Teach Me on My PGCE' and founder of the #EduTeacherTips YouTube channel

Book Information

ISBN: 9781472984487
Publication date: 10th June 2021
Author: Nikki Cunningham-Smith
Publisher: Bloomsbury Education an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 176 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3

About Nikki Cunningham-Smith

Nikki Cunningham-Smith is an assistant headteacher, SENCO and centre lead in a pupil referral unit. Nikki writes a behaviour blog for TES and contributed to the book What They Didn't Teach Me on My PGCE. Nikki is a regular speaker for BAMEed Network and also appeared on Greg James and Bella Mackie's podcast Teach Me A Lesson. 

More About Nikki Cunningham-Smith

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