The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Reading time: 5


Ross Morrison McGill founded @TeacherToolkit in 2010, and today, he is one of the 'most followed educators'on social media in the world. In 2015, he was nominated as one of the '500 Most Influential People in Britain' by The Sunday Times as a result of...
Read more about @TeacherToolkit

I’d just like to take a moment to share a few reviews – some of the best and worst – and share them with readers to my blog.

It’s my one-year anniversary since I wrote my first book; something I never thought was possible. Here I offer a range of reviews by readers. Plus, I’d also like to take a few shots at myself in the foot(er). Thank you (and credit) to Dr. @CazzWebbo for a dose of reality during the summer break.


  • As a student being taught in 7 schools, this never gave any teacher the opportunity to help me consolidate my literacy needs.
  • As a result, I never dreamt of becoming an author, or even a regular writer for that matter. Writing on this blog has provided me with this opportunity. As a by-product, the chance to write a book was just that. When asked by others (fervently), “if I can do it, so can you.”
  • Regarding lesson gradings, I do not think the book title is particularly helpful in today’s landscape. But, I dispel this consternation within the content of the book. Don’t judge the book by it’s cover/title.
  • One single idea/chapter will not constitute Outstanding teaching. Some relate to the culture [a teacher] builds that leads to good learning/progress over time.
  • There are no references to one-off lessons or demonstrating progress. If anything, I challenge these misconceptions.
  • With our collective push on Ofsted to remove lesson gradings, and forgetting the book title and lesson gradings for a moment, the content of this book is what I have crafted together after 20 years in the classroom; including working with colleagues.
  • I do know that each idea will not suit other teachers and the students you teach. Every reader should keep this in mind.
  • Some of the ideas are just that. They are ideas.
  • And I’d be a fool to state that this book contains a silver bullet. It doesn’t.
The Good The Bad The Ugly 100 ideas
Photo Credit: Dunechaser via Compfight cc

The good:

  1. “… managed to distil really grounded, sensible practice with a dollop of sparkle.” Mary Myatt (Lead Inspector for Ofsted)
  2. “Amazing wee book … enough to send most teachers into preparation mode.” Lorna Monroe.
  3. “As an old-timer, I winced once in a while as I was forced to confront my bad habits, but the book has left me feeling positive and ready to plan.” Lorna Leventhal
  4. “A no nonsense guide to what really matters for busy teachers!” Ms A Kelly
The Good The Bad The Ugly 100 ideas book
Photo Credit: TANAZE via Compfight cc

The bad:

  1. “… Many of the supposed ideas are more like principles or ways of working or behaviours. I expected 100 ideas in the form of lesson activities. Never mind, still an interesting read.”
  2. ” The title also made me think that the book would be 100 teaching ideas, but instead some the ideas relate to the culture you build that leads to outstanding learning – an important but subtle difference.”
  3. ” … This slender volume contains a few good teaching ideas.”
The Good The Bad The Ugly 100 ideas
Photo Credit: MacQ via Compfight cc

The ugly:

  1. “… a little ‘faddy’ and doesn’t actually set the world alight!”
  2. “… a hotch-potch of other people’s ideas … and a total waste of money!”
  3. “… a flash in the pan offering that will be out of date in 12 months!”

You decide. 15,000 others have …

#100Ideas courtesy of @TeacherToolkit

20 Something Betters:

The following self-deprecating jokes are dedicated to all those that ‘really‘ love my work.

  1. Some people have said, that if you don’t buy @TeacherToolkit’s book, he’ll move back to Scotland to vote for independence.
  2. That 100 ideas is apparently £10.05 cheaper than a years subscription to TES Pro! The feed on Twitter when followers realise that @TeacherToolkit is still writing loads of nonsense, priceless!
  3. How did @TeacherToolkit get such a mountain of followers? He lost a ‘tenner’ down a molehill
  4. @TeacherToolkit grew up in the heyday of below-par progressive education in the 1970s. If you want to know what the heyday of rubbish progressive education is like, be a student in his class now.
  5. When @TeacherToolkit was a young man, in his youth he professed his desire to become a great writer. When asked to define ‘great’ he said, “I want to write stuff that the whole world will read; stuff that people react to on a truly emotional level. Stuff that will make them scream, cry howl in pain and anger!” He now writes a blog giving five-minute lesson planning tips.
  6. He’s a senior teacher. What does he know about teaching? He hardly does it!
  7. When asked about his own death, @TeacherToolkit was offered the option of going to heaven or hell. He decided to check out each place first and descended into the fiery pits of hell. He saw row upon row of writers, chained to their desks in a steaming sweatshop. As they worked, they were whipped with thorny lashes. ‘Oh my’, said the writer, ‘let me see heaven now.’ As he ascended into heaven, he saw rows of writers chained to the desks in a steaming sweatshop. They too, were whipped with thorny lashes whilst writing the word ‘Outstanding’ on the front cover of the books. ‘Wait a minute,’ said @TeacherToolkit, ‘this is just as bad as hell.’ ‘Oh no’, replied an unseen voice, ‘here, your work gets published’.
  8. How long does it take for @TeacherToolkit to change a light bulb? 4 minutes and 58 seconds to plan it, two seconds to change it. You know it’ll be an outstanding bulb change and lots of people will be following him whilst he does it. The answer: 5 minutes.
  9. Tweet: ‘Long, hard slog today writing an Outstanding educational tweet. (That was it. What do you think? Ofsted pleaser?)
  10. Practically everyone on Twitter has half a mind to blog and write a book. Even @TeacherToolkit, bless him.
  11. On Twitter followers; @TeacherToolkit says he shops at Waitrose. Only the finest will do!
  12. @TeacherToolkit never lets quick and dirty writing tricks get in the way of an outstanding book. Even the timing of this blogpost!
  13. Everywhere @TeacherToolkit goes, he is asked if he thinks progressivism stifles learners. His opinion is that it doesn’t stifle enough of them. There’s many a traditionalist and an edu-blogger that could have been prevented by a good teacher.
  14. @TeacherToolkit’s 5-minute planning tools are both outstanding and original; but the part that is outstanding is not original, and the part that is original, is not outstanding!
  15. There’s not much to be said about the full-stop. Except that @TeacherToolkit doesn’t say it soon enough.
  16. It took @TeacherToolkit five minutes of planning to discover he had no talent for writing, but he couldn’t give it up, because by that time, he was too famous.
  17. What do you call a book written by @TeacherToolkit and found at the bottom of the sea? A good start.
  18. @TeacherToolkit is often seen in the pub with Toby Young on a Friday night after school.
  19. Go on, ask @TeacherToolkit. What’s the perfect lesson?
  20. Oh, and the selfie with Michael Gove 6 days before his demotion. It was nothing to do with @TeacherToolkit.

Come on trolls, you can do better than these can’t you? If you have taken the above a little too seriously, lighten up and give me a call.

One thought on “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.