What a happy day Saturday 24th October 2020 was! That was the day we held a virtual launch of #ItTakes5Years…

It was my good friends, Dame Alison Peacock and Professor Sam Twiselton, who persuaded me we should have a launch and it was Richard Robinson’s idea to ask Emma Turner to host the event – and a brilliant idea it was. She’s a natural and keeps the flow going beautifully.

I wrote to all the original eight co-authors who had so swiftly and willingly contributed moments from their early careers for inclusion in the book, asking if any would be willing and able to join us on a Saturday morning and to my amazement every one of them replied promptly that they would. How I wish I could have invited all the other eighteen contributors but it would have made us all so small on ‘streamyard’ that we wouldn’t be seen, and there would not have been enough time for all to do more than introduce themselves… We shall save the full team appearance for the live launch post the pandemic.

Explaining the thinking behind this high-speed publication – seven weeks to write, three weeks of proofing and assembling and one week to publish thanks to Richard and Ben, my colleagues – was an important element of the introduction to the event between Emma and myself; that innocent  conversation over a Chinese meal with Kirstie and Ben led to the fastest turn-around I have ever known. Yes, that all-important  throw-away remark by myself to Kirstie all those years ago over dinner in a hotel when she was my front-of-house, before she converted her degree into a teaching , certainly led to the fastest write over long hours six days a week to produce this guidance and advice for early career teachers in time for the new school year. And we did it! And we made the remark the title of the book!

It was when the sections from the co-authors came in that I suddenly realised, to my great surprise, that every one of the eight of us had had such similar experiences and emotions at the start of our careers. That was what led me to throw the net wider and ask on twitter if anyone else would be so generous as to contribute, and I am deeply grateful for the additional eighteen contributors who stepped forward so willingly.  And yes – their early career experiences replicated the pattern. Yet no-one had told any of us how hard it would be at times in those first years in the classroom, how much we would want to bare our souls to someone and say how we were really struggling at times, even though it seems safe to assume that most of the lecturers who taught us and the colleagues in the staff rooms had almost all had similar experiences and worries.

So that was the premise of the book – to make the great reveal and to announce to our newly qualified colleagues the best guarded secrets of education – that ‘the emperor has no clothes on’.

My sincere thanks to all who contributed in any way, to all who ‘attended’ on the 24th and to the thousands who have viewed the video since, as well as to the many who have purchased the book and for the warm and generous feedback they have given us.

It Takes 5 Years to Become a Teacher

Packed with warmth, humour and shrewd advice, this is a must for anyone embarking upon their career as a teacher. Becoming a good teacher is a skill that builds over time as we learn through experience, supported by the shared wisdom of colleagues.

Dame Alison Peacock

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