I find myself reading a lot. Not because I have to but I want to. I often get asked the question, where do you find the time to read? I make the time because it’s an essential part of my role and I enjoy it. Below are the 3 key questions I am always asking myself as a leader and would encourage you to consider them:
What am I reading?
What does it have me thinking?
What does it have me becoming?
Reading has now become a habit, a good habit of course. As Tony Robbins calls this daily reading “one of the most valuable of my life.” He says he got the bug from his teacher Jim Rohn, who told him that reading something every day that was of value, nourishing, substantial, and would teach you distinctions. Reading provides perspective, new thinking, ideas and time to challenge. Mary Myatt in her fantastic book High Challenge, Low threat summaries the main reason leaders should reading beautifully:
Having the privilege to lead on Teaching and Learning there are so many great books out there which are ever evolving and not to mention the countless superb blogs. I have developed ideas, practices around what I have read and it has helped evolve practice. I how found Michael Fullan’s work inspiring, particularly around the leadership of teaching and learning.
It has got me think though. What if we could develop a short reading list to help teachers and leaders? For example in your initial teacher training, NQT and RQT years what are the must reads? A new Head of Department or member of SLT. Which books enable you to hit the ground round and help you develop? I am no way saying that books replace experience but they do supplement it, giving you a balance of theory but also putting it into practice. In fact I was once told in my previous role as a pastoral Assistant Head that reading books was a waste of time and the only way to learn the role was to ‘do it’. I remember going home that night and ordering 8 books on pastoral related learning on purpose. I read them all and learnt on the job at the same time. Worth considering . . .
In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time —none, zero. —Charlie Munger
My Top 10 Teaching, Learning and Leadership reads (In no particular order).
All of the above have provided me with a great source of inspiration and thinking in both my teaching and leadership. Social media also provides the platform to enable you to interact with the authors and share experiences of the book.
Like any good book they aren’t on my shelf anymore, I have given them to others to read or are being prepared for our new Teaching, Learning and Leadership section of the library.
I would love to hear your experiences and recommendations.