“What’s the difference between a rut and a grave?”
Answer: The depth of the soil,
This phrase was rather eloquently coined by the American Novelist – Ellen Glasgow in the early 1900s; although it’s over a century old the sentiment is still as fresh as the day it was first written.

Those of you who are teachers will know that the job can sometimes be a series of extreme highs and lows.

The highs occur when the light flickers within the eyes of a child and they say:
“Oh I understand now!”
That ‘Bing’ moment when the imaginary light bulb appears above their head. An additional high point can be when you bump into a former student/pupil and they inform you that their chosen career path was all down to a comment or a bit of advice that you gave them when they were younger. (As you can imagine this can also work the opposite way round and become one of your low points.)

The lows are, all too, familiar to many teachers that I speak to:
An ever increasing workload.
High and sometimes unrealistic expectations of parents.
Demands from the Head Teacher and Senior Management Team.
The ever changing nature of education due to change in government.
Unsupportive colleagues.
‘The Class from Hell!’

So the question is: How can we stay out of the rut, or better still how do you get out of the rut once you have fallen in? Here are a few Thought Weaver suggestions that may help.

1. Talk to colleagues.
Many of the old sayings that our grandparents came out with still ring true today:
‘A problem shared is a problem halved.’
Perhaps if we share the problem a second time that would take care of the remaining half; therefore the problem would be dissipated. It’s always good to get the opinion of another professional whether it be in your own school or another.

2. Try some summer reading.
Some of you may think that books about education are high brow and too academic. There are many out there which are exactly that. However, if you choose wisely you’ll be in for a treat. Here are a few suggestions, they are great for a read or something you can just dip into:

GUY CLAXTON: What’s the Point of School?

This book will help practitioners to reflect on what they feel the purpose of school really is!

IAN GIBERT: Essential Motivation in the Classroom.
A book of brilliant and inspirational ideas to promote intrinsic motivation in the classroom.

IAN GILBERT: Why do I need a teacher when I’ve got Google?
A forward thinking book, considering the changing role of the teacher within 21st Century education

SIR JOHN JONES: The Magic Weaving Business:
Inspirational stories that help capture the essence of why we do what we do!

3. Get on Youtube and be inspired; here are few of the gems we have found!

SIR KEN ROBINSON: Changing paradigms.

SIR KEN ROBINSON: Do schools kill creativity?

NICK VUJICIC: I Love Living Life. I Am Happy.

MATT HARDING: Where the hell is Matt?

BOBBY McFERRIN: A demonstration of the power of the pentatonic

DAVID HOLMES: The Rapping Flight Attendant – Try to love your job this much!

4. Get on Twitter!
We assume that by reading this blog you are already aware of Twitter. However, if you received this link from another source, and as of yet you haven’t got a Twitter account, we strongly suggest you set one up. From our perspective it will be the best continual professional development tool you’ll ever use! It’s easily accessible 24/7, user friendly, highly informative, humorous and more importantly its FREE!

The Thought Weavers.



  1. A friend retweeted your article to me , I’m really glad you wrote it and I’ll retweet it asap. On 20th of July, after 37 years of teaching,I finally hang up whatever teachers hang up- my mouse/ interactive whiteboard pen / coffee mug in the staffroom . I am one of the oldest practitionersoners in my local authority and what got me through was by constantly remaining curious and having the support of my colleagues of all ages. Not forgetting the times when the spark really does catch fire in the classroom.All generations of teachers need each other because, in the end ,it’s us against them. And “them” aren’t the pupils, are they?!

    1. Dear Nicholas or Janice??

      Well thank you for your kind words of encouragement. Lee and I are both still practising classroom practitioners. I love the term ‘practising’ goodness knows when we’ll do it for real! We are former colleagues and best friends. However, we both had very different journeys to this point in our lives. Lee did the traditional educational production line, where he flew through school, GCSEs, A Levels, Law Degree (a year out in an electrical wholesalers????) and finally into teaching.

      Where as I stumbled my way though the Catholic Education of the late 60s and 1970s – Dodging angry nuns, low achieving bottom groups, bullying teachers (I’m 13 years older than Lee and was schooled in the late 1960s and throughout the 70s) I played truant and left school with 2 CSEs Grade 4 – I then embarked on an ‘Odyssey of vocational enlightenment’ that saw me take on jobs such as butcher, barman, welder’s mate, coal miner, factory worker, telephone salesman, youth worker the list goes on… I eventually found my way to college at 33. I then completed an Access to HE, BA (Hons) History and PGCE eventually graduating in 2002. I began teaching two weeks after my 39th birthday.

      Lee and I write blogs that hopefully appeal to all – we write from the heart as well as the head. We are well read and keep abreast of the latest educational research; but steer clear of the language use by many of the ‘Academic Oracles’ that are found on Twitter – The sort that love to dispense their wisdom upon the lesser mortals of this world.

      We both hope you have a happy, healthy, peaceful and fulfilling retirement and please keep following the Thought Weavers because this Government will have us teaching until we are into our early nineties.

      Take care and God bless

      Lee & David

      1. Dear Lee and David.
        Many thanks for your kind words, I’ll certainly keep following Thoughtweavers. I’m glad to see that David would appear to have recovered from the pernicious system of Catholic teaching that was years ago. I feel I can say this as a recovering Catholic myself ! -though I did train at a Catholic college of education and loved it. As the aging pedant I am concerened that I may have put in a typo misspelling of practitioners, can it be corrected on the blog, please ?
        By the way, it is Nicholas. My wife Jan got in first when we got the internet !
        Best wishes,

  2. I’d recommend the Essential Motivation Book by Ian Gilbert. His humour does not always work but he’ll get you thinking creatively and the pedagogic theory is entry level!

    1. Couldn’t agree more Ian, sadly though I think I share the same sense of humour as Mr G – I find him highly amusing! Still it takes all types. Thank you for you comments. Have you seen this week’s blog? Diary of an SEN Kid. Cheers Lee & David

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