I like writing, I’ve always liked writing. I’m not claiming it is something I excel at but I enjoy it and people read my blog so that’s a good basis for continuing with it.
When I was 8 years old I wrote a children’s story for my primary school and I was very pleased to win a prize for it. There hadn’t been a prize on offer for the best story in school, they created one for me because they were impressed with the content of my story. At the time, it meant absolutely nothing to me. I had won a prize, so what? I had only done what the teacher had told me to do and I had done it to the best of my ability. That’s what you do when you’re 8 years old. Maybe that unexpected prize was what started my love affair with writing.
When I was 12 years old my English literature teacher wrote on a piece of my work about ‘Of Mice and Men’ -Cherryl is very perceptive and shows great depth in her understanding of the characters in the story. I had no idea what he was talking about and had to go and seek a dictionary to find the meaning of the word perceptive. I clearly wasn’t that good! The point I am making is that I have always loved English, both language and literature and have never really done anything with it until recently.
In 2012 I joined Twitter and began reading all the posts. There weren’t as many back then so it was relatively easy to read most of the educational ones. Eventually I plucked up enough courage to have a go myself. The reason I was moved to write was that one of my TAs was leaving our school and she was going to be missed as she was so good. My first post was well received by many lovely people on Twitter and this was very encouraging.
I then delved in to all manner of different topics covering all things educational. I posted about leadership, I posted many blogs about Ofsted and being observed and also meeting Mike Cladingbowl and Sean Harford. One topic I always cover is TAs. This is because I was a TA and I know how tough their role can be. The most popular post I have ever written is ‘Letter to Mr Gove re Teaching Assistants’ which was viewed 68,506 times on the 12th June 2013. That is a fantastic amount of views in one day and I am aware that no other post will ever achieve that figure.
That brings me to SEND. Far and away the vast majority of my posts concern children with SEND or my school and our inspirational children. I have discussed differentiation, ASC, progression, assessment, teaching children with SEND to read and many other topics. This is the area I am most comfortable with and is the area of my expertise.
Writing about SEND then gave me opportunities to write for Teach Primary and some online magazines. Once I had started writing more and more opportunities arose. The work was becoming regular and I loved it. Then the big one came, an invitation to write a book for Bloomsbury Education. Was I interested? You bet I was!
After submitting my proposal the book took me exactly a year to write. The lovely Sue Cowley advised me to take a year to write it as I work full time and she was absolutely right. I dedicated every Saturday afternoon and all of the school holidays to it, unless I was out of the country. Even then, it was never far from my mind. Each Saturday saw me on Twitter asking questions and seeking advice from teachers who were willing to help me. Thank you to everyone who responded to my queries, you are all mentioned in the acknowledgments of my book. I’ll add that @TeacherToolkit gave me lots of advice as did @ICTEvangelist and @MariaStMarys was renamed as my ‘Saturday Saviour’. Two people who were incredibly supportive were @Mishwood1 and @reachoutASC and I’m very grateful to both lovely ladies.
I learned a great deal while writing it too. I knew nothing about how to write a book, obviously. My Editor, Holly Gardener was so patient with me and guided me through every step of the way. Everything had to be uploaded to dropbox which gave Holly access to it whenever she wanted to work on it. I learned that the best way to do it is to write uninterrupted. I worked through it chapter by chapter in this manner and then returned to the beginning and moved things around and altered things. I learned that I hate editing. I had an inkling of this already from my university days but editing a book is different. I now know that I really do not like editing. That’s the only part I disliked. I enjoyed learning more about SEND, I enjoyed interacting with all the tweeting teachers and I thoroughly enjoyed getting all my knowledge into a book. It has been a wonderful experience.
My book ‘Supporting Children with Special Educational Needs’ is part of Bloomsbury’s CPD Library. At the moment it is on sale at 30% discount if pre ordered before September 11th. The official release date is September 22nd.
Other books in the series include ‘Secondary Curriculum and Assessment Design’ by Summer Turner also due out on September 22nd.
‘Middle Leadership’ by Paul K Ainsworth
‘Marking and Feedback’ by Sarah Findlater
Also see ‘Teaching Primary Computing’ by Martin Burrett from the Bloomsbury Basic Series.
Future books include ‘Using Technology in the Classroom’ by Jose Picardo and ‘How to Survive and Thrive in Teaching’ by Dr Emma Kell. Both books are due out in 2017.
Have a look at Bloomsbury CPD Library to see other titles in the series.
Also, have a look at Bloomsbury Education website You will find many posts on a variety of topics including new and future books.
Thank you for reading. I will be writing more posts for Bloomsbury Education in the future.