Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Champion of the World(s)

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Champion of the World(s)

Article excerpt

I had the pleasure of meeting Doug "Teach Like a Champion" Lemov for a coffee recently. Between comparing tattoos and classroom scars, we talked about the importance of keeping a healthy balance between home and school, and how walking that line sometimes felt like walking the plank. One thing we agreed on was that it was important to realise what your priorities were, and to plan for them.

Work-life balance is a joke, of course. Who's got time to work out where that point lies when you're head down sprinting through each day? I remember working tables in London's Piccadilly (waiting, not dancing, I'll add), falling in at one end of the shift and being spat out at the other. Even there, I had a better split between home and hustle. At least I could step off the customer service treadmill at the end of a shift.

Not as a teacher. At home, work clings to you like an odour. Chefs have a term for when they've completely finished with a customer's order - they call it "selling your ticket".

You never sell your ticket in education. Every day produces must-dos that are rarely resolved by the last bell. Our work takes years to finish, if it ever is. There is always something more you could do: more revision, more attention, better marking, closer scrutiny.

Remember the last time you sat in the staffroom and simply talked to a colleague for half an hour? Me neither. Many schools have a culture that not only prohibits room to breathe, to consider and reflect, but also makes it near-impossible for teachers to execute their core functions: to teach and protect. …

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