You Are Fabulous

Reading time: 3

John Dabell

I trained as a primary school teacher 25 years ago, starting my career in London and then I taught in a range of schools in the Midlands. In between teaching jobs, I worked as an Ofsted inspector (no hate mail please!), national in-service provider, project...
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What type of teacher should you be?

As teachers we have incredible choices. We can be whoever we want to be in the classroom.

We can choose to be amazing on a Monday, perfect on a Tuesday, brilliant on a Wednesday, slightly awesome on a Thursday … and ‘zombie apocalypse’ on a Friday.

We can be really lazy teachers, punk teachers, connected teachers, wonder-fuelled teachers and we can even be just a tiny bit marvellous. The opportunity to be different is built into the job, it’s just deciding which journey to take.

You Are Awesome

As Dominic Salles says in his book, The Slightly Awesome Teacher;

“What stops people being awesome is a choice. And this view is often dictated by their view of the world. Do they choose to take the opportunity or not?”

Of course, the power of self-belief and positive self-talk is crucial in being who you want to be but you also need ‘the guns’ to back it up. Thankfully Dominic gives us 50 insightful chapters to mull over by mixing together his own experience, science and research so we aren’t just left standing by ourselves in a field being all awesome without a tractor to plough with.

What do others have to say?

You Are Amazing

In How to be an Amazing Teacher by Caroline Bentley-Davies, she describes really special teachers that have the ability to make time fly.

These amazing souls mesmerise, engross and fascinate by effortlessly mixing together dynamic skills that she summarises as the five Es:

Enthusiasm, Expertise, Empathy, Empowerment and Enterprise.

Caroline says these define the “essence of an amazing teacher” and they reflect the key attributes that an amazing teacher has in abundance. Developing and refining these skills takes time, hard work and commitment.  and as Caroline points out, “Teaching is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Apart from examining these key characteristics in more detail, Caroline’s book also delves into concrete strategies and ideas for solving tricky issues and difficulties.

You Are Perfect

In The Perfect Teacher, Jackie Beere talks about embedding the 7 habits of highly effective teachers: self-management, reflective practice, flexibility, optimism, empathy, courage and resilience and collaboration.

She sensibly talks about being “the very best teacher you can be” and points out that our mindset is the key driver of our teaching identity because “the way you think makes you the teacher that you are.”

To be a perfect teacher is all down to being purposeful and internalising seven mindsets:


Mindset 1: Self-evaluate

Mindset 2: Believe you can make a difference

Mindset 3: Learning to be curious about learning

Mindset 4: Know that feedback is the breakfast of champions

Mindset 5: Expect more of pupils

Mindset 6: Collaborate to grow

Mindset 7: Use a language of learning

Jackie goes into detail about these mindsets and offers plenty of top tips along the way. She then devotes further chapters to creating a rapport for learning, what excellent and interesting practice looks like and how to sustain your passion and purpose.

You Are Brilliant

The Art Of Being A Brilliant Teacher by Gary Toward, Chris Henley and Andy Cope is an entertaining resource brimming over with positive psychology and “cracking stuff” for building world class lessons.

“You might like to think of this book as ’everything you wanted to know about teaching but never dared ask’. It’s pretty much a pick-and-mix cornucopia of all the things we feel teachers should know.”

The authors bounce around, nibble and zip-wire through different concepts that you probably hadn’t heard of or given much thought to and they insist we need to be a 2%er – a life giver, a happy pedagogue with vim that radiates energy.

They say we need to focus on 6 main points:

One: choose to be positive

Two: understand your impact

Three: Take personal responsibility

Four: possess bouncebackability

Five: Have a HUGG (Huge Unbelievably Great Goals)

Six: Play to your strengths

You Are Confused

I don’t know about you, but after all this magnificence I am truly exhausted and I’m not really sure I want to be amazing, perfect, brilliant, slightly awesome or mega-awesome. I think I’m happy just being me. One thing we should never aim to be though, is outstanding, because that’s something that causes far too much trouble and gets everyone wound up.

Be a tad breathtaking if you want, be a maverick if you dare, be good at all times if you can, but never try to be outstanding because it’s too glam and full of flim flam.

The books I have mentioned above all have their USPs and something unique to offer they all contain nuts and bolts ideas with plenty to reflect on.

But it’s more realistic to dip into them, cherry-pick and steal a few ideas, test the water in class and see if things work for you. If they don’t – so what? Perhaps you can write that one yourself?

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