Jim's Book

If you want your students to learn more and you to work less, this book provides you with all the arguments and evidence you need to become a lazy, but outstanding, teacher. Gathered over 20 years in the classroom, the tried-and-tested techniques shift the emphasis away from the teaching and onto the learning – making your life so much easier in the process.

Are you working when everyone else seems to be doing something more exciting? Maybe your marking could be done by someone else. Are you fed up with planning lessons? Why not get the students to plan them for you. Besides, personalised learning shouldn't really involve 30 lesson plans!

This powerful book is packed full of easy-to-apply and highly effective strategies: strategies which work in the classroom. What's more, they all have the seal of approval of real students in real classrooms. In fact, many of them have been thought up by the students themselves, but that's why Jim Smith is called The Lazy Teacher. So, the next time someone tells you to 'get a life', this book will make it possible.


Praise for the New Edition

Just when you thought you couldn’t get any lazier as a teacher Jim returns with even more ideas to help us teachers become more effective in our classrooms.

This book is jammed full with tried-and-tested suggestions for us to dip in to! Well worth a read, a copy should be on hand in every classroom.

Amjad Ali Assistant Head Teacher, @ASTSupportAali

If you want tangible strategies and creative ideas that actually work, this book will provide you with plenty: it is accessible, honest, practical and entertaining. The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook will help you to help students become more effective, reflective and independent learners whilst helping you to retain the joy that comes from this privileged profession.

Brian Platts Head of the Secondary School, The British School in Tokyo

Another fantastic teaching and learning development book. Jim’s learning and experience as a teacher and head teacher echo strongly throughout the book, giving realistic perspectives on the challenges facing teachers and also practical and empowering solutions. The book could be read as a whole but also dipped in and out of as part of self-reflection and CPD. The book creates a ‘can do’ approach to issues such as pupil engagement, progress, managing workload and effective feedback. Once again, Jim Smith has written a book that supports, excites and encourages thoughtful reflection – EWAP!

Clare Cantle Head Teacher, All Saints Catholic School

In more than thirty years as a teacher and school leader, I’ve rarely met a lazy teacher. And that’s why we need this book so much.

Jim Smith’s approach isn’t based on gimmicks and quick fixes. It’s all about real learning, and the way we need to detox ourselves as a profession from the idea that teaching more leads inevitably to students learning more. Often – as the author so vividly demonstrates – the reverse is true.

The book has a great title, but in truth The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook isn’t for the lazy amongst us. It’s for those most committed to immersing students in the messy business of actual learning, guided by a teacher with the confidence to know when to step back and watch that learning happen.

Geoff Barton ASCL General Secretary

Reviews from the First Edition

  • 'Written in an engaging and down-to-earth style, The Lazy Teacher's Handbook is packed full of 'things to try' in lessons, but is also underpinned by a view of teaching and learning that is humane and hopeful.'

    John Morgan (Reader in Education, Institute of Education London and University of Bristol)
  • 'Many teachers and support workers have problems with the application of differentiation ... use this excellent book as a staff reference to enable staff teams to review and question their current practice.'

    John T Morris BA(Hons), MEd, MPhil, CertEd Director at Ymgynghorwyr Addysg JTM Educational Consultants
  • '... both practical with hundreds of good ideas and readable at the same time.'

    Leadership Focus Magazine
  • 'This is an ideal book for those students and teachers willing to think creatively – outside the box.'

    Marian Thomas Head of ITET, Trinity University College Carmarthen
  • 'Without doubt this text evokes reflective practice and a review of traditional teaching methods.'

    Marissa Bryan Croydon Higher Education College
  • '... a book to dip into and I am sure many teachers will find new ideas and strategies as well as some well-known favourites.'

    Mary Mountstephen SEN Magazine
  • 'Explains how teachers can enjoy their responsibility by helping the learners to realise that they have to share the work and in doing so they will enjoy it and find it fulfilling.'

    Mick Waters Professor of Education, Wolverhampton University
  • '...a welcome reminder of the ability most teachers possess as well as being an invaluable reference point. And I for one am looking forward to reclaiming my Lazy Sundays.'

    Pauline Tomlin Deputy Curriculum Leader and Coordinator KS3, Belle Vue Boys' School, Bradford
  • 'An invaluable resource in our development of the PELTS at Priory Community School. Following an INSET from Jim we purchased the book as a reference guide to becoming a “lazy teacher”. We have been asking teachers for several years to develop more independent learners in their classrooms: Jim's take on it makes it happen from a “lazy” point of view! Each area of school uses the resource and our evaluation has been that this book has led our teachers and students to a position where learning takes over from teaching. The students now do the hard work of thinking and doing, not the teacher.'

    Neville Coles Principal, Priory Community School, Weston-super-Mare
  • ‘Thank you so much, the book couldn't have come along at a better time for me. I was becoming bored with doing the same things every day. We have pushed our GCSE results from 44% to 70% in five years but we've damn near killed ourselves doing it! What you said last week really resonated with me and echoed some of the things that we often discuss as a department but never have a solution for. The “Lazy Way” is really beginning to have a positive impact on the way we approach teaching and learning in the department.’

    Mel Marris Frederick Gough School

'This is an outstanding book, easily readable and “flick-through-able”, and jammed full of excellent ideas for outstanding teaching and learning.'

Jocelyn Sumner Partnership Director, University of Exeter, Devon (Former Head of RE at Teign School, Devon) and member of Association of Christian Teachers

I joined my current school as deputy in 2010. Five months later we were in special measures (I did see it coming, but couldn’t convince the Head in those five months that drastic change was needed).

About that time I stumbled across your first book, The Lazy Teacher’s Handbook (I have since had it stolen by one of many teachers who were desperate to get their hands on it). A lot of what you were saying really resonated with me because a) you were spot on, and b) I was already applying a lot of your principles to my teaching.

In the school the teaching profile was awful with maybe only three of the teachers with any capacity to improve. I began a coaching programme starting with one of these teachers. His grades were coming out as inadequate or requiring improvement.

I worked closely with him and soon enough he ‘got it’ and his teaching improved very quickly.
The first HMI visit came and 16% of lessons were deemed good.

With this other teacher, I put together a programme of coaching. I told him about some of your principles and we worked on getting them, and some of our own, across to selected staff.

As we improved staff, they too grew into coaches. Our guiding principle was always that the children needed to be working harder than the teachers.

To cut an already long story short, in November 2011 we moved out of special measures with 64% of teaching graded at least ‘good’. I received an ‘outstanding’ and so did two other staff members.
I think at that point I messaged you on Twitter.

Since then I read your second book, Whole School Progress the LAZY Way, and with my teaching buddy we set about formalising some of our coaching processes (again based on yours and our principles).

One piece of work we undertook was to devise a model to show progress in observations in the second half of lessons (we’d spotted a big difference between getting observed in the first half and second half of lessons).

Anyway, this week things have come full circle really. OFSTED visited recently and although I can’t say too much, we are very pleased.

My mate was observed three times and was graded as having two ‘outstanding’ lessons. Another of the originals received ‘outstanding’ twice too and the other received a ‘good’.

No lesson observed was less than ‘good’ and our only improvement point is to move all teaching to ‘outstanding’.

To top off an excellent week, a flyer landed on my desk yesterday for your course and I’ve finally managed to get the breathing space to book myself and my teaching buddy on to it.

Your books have aided us so much already and we wanted to see your principles in practice first hand. We are already working on a plan to cascade outstanding practice around to even more staff and hope we can pick up a few ideas.

So after all of that (sorry, I'm not great with words), I just wanted to say a big thank you for the help and inspiration your work provided: it gave us structures to tag our ideas on to and we look forward to seeing you in Birmingham, all being well.

Thanks again.

Jim Harrold Deputy Head Teacher

'This book deserves a place in every staffroom. Place it on the centre table, invite all staff to enjoy it and then, to misquote Auden: 
Stop all the bells, disconnect the LCD
Deny the kids a wordsearch with a mental age of three
Dazzle the inspector and with seated bum
Bring on Independence, and let Learning come.'

Dr Barry Hymer Professor of Psychology in Education, University of Cumbria in Lancaster

'If you imbibe the essential principles he outlines in the book, you'll find yourself with a great toolkit of pupil-proof teaching techniques which will make you enjoy your teaching more and help you get better results.'

Francis Gilbert, author of I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here and Working The System - How To Get The Best State Education For Your Child


Special Offer - Buy both The Lazy Teacher's Handbook - New Edition and Whole School Progress the LAZY Way for just £25

Please email Crown House Publishing at learn@crownhouse.co.uk
to place your order.