Tags, Folds and Highlighters!

It’s been 9 years now since I studied for my CertEd, and this weekend as I was sorting out my bookcase, I reflected on all the reading I did during the two years that qualification took. At the time I studied for my teaching qualification I wasn’t doing a lot of actual classroom teaching, so there was a degree of theoretical naivety about my studies, as some of the books imply.


Now some years on my teaching experience has been incredibly varied! I think at times I have definitely been an ‘awesome’ teacher – back then maybe I thought I would always be awesome!

What struck me from the books on my bookcase was that the way that I study has given me an interesting insight into what I thought was important back then. Many of my books have little tags on the pages. I tend to make notes and mark pages where things strike a particular chord with me, and so that I can return to these points.

So, what was so important to me back then?

One page I had marked with a turned over corner in ‘100 things awesome teachers do’ was a section called The Hook. It is about grabbing your student’s attention right from the start of the lesson. “Rather than ‘Today we are learning about the works of Pablo Picasso’, how about ‘If he thought women had ears in the middle of their face and noses on the side of their heads, why was Picasso such a great painter?’ “ (Emery,2012,17)

Often we put together lessons, and the front page of a PowerPoint says what you’re going to get, and then the first words out of the teachers mouth tell you what you are going to get……..when do the students need to start thinking??  I wish I had remembered this one!

Ken Blanchard, one of my favourite go to’s for a quote or two, ‘The Little Book of Coaching’ is a bit more tagged. More of the corners are folded over and there are more highlighted paragraphs. Over the years this book, as well as ‘The One Minute Manager’, ‘Who Moved My Cheese’ with Spencer Johnson, as well as his situational leadership theory with Paul Hersey, has featured regularly in my teaching.

There are a couple of quotes I have marked within this book, which are very relevant now while launching our new business.

‘Success is not forever, and failure isn’t fatal.’ We know not everything is going to work out the way we expect or hope. There are also going to be times where we are on top of the world! We need to keep these moments in perspective.

“ ‘Effective leaders, and the people and teams they coach, are ready to change when the situation demands it.’ In today’s world nothing stays the same. The ‘cheese’ is always moving. Many people are struggling right now because they haven’t learnt the power of flexibility. They are still living in the past. They are scared to move forward. They do not have the confidence to do so. They are afraid of failure. They are fearful of looking stupid. They doubt themselves. As a coach, you need to help those around you to become more flexible” (Blanchard, 2002, 53). I am very lucky to have a coach as a business partner who helps me, and allows me to help him.

I think that having these little moments in time captured with tags, folds and highlighters are important reflection points. I am always learning and as we build a portfolio of new lessons and webinars, the reading we are both doing has increased significantly. I am also doing a second Counselling qualification myself (because there is not enough going on) and have a pile of books for that.

I have my sticky tags ready!!!