B.L.I.P. Books: Preserving Positivity by Haili Hughes

Reading ‘Preserving Positivity’ feels like an honest account of both Haili’s own experience and many other professionals in education.

It draws together different experiences so well that it is eye-opening to those that might not be aware of what it is like to work in schools and hits the nail on the head for those of us that are.

There are myths debunked (such as teachers have lots more time off, the grass is greener, etc.) and deeper questions asked around salaries, infrastructures, pressures, retention and leadership. If you read her book with an open mind it can inspire you and help deal with some of the personal problems you, your team or your school may be facing. It speaks honestly about this day and age of the teaching profession. It does bring out some very positive aspects of education (as the title does suggest) but this book is meant to make us think, as individuals as well as a collective, about how we can look at what is actually happening and change the outcomes so that more staff stay in the classroom.

It is a gathering of evidence and an investigation into how we can improve the UK teaching environment. One of the stand out offers in this book for me personally was the suggested use of meditation resources on mindfulness as I feel these are such a simple solution (as many of these suggestions are) although when we feel overwhelmed by work-life imbalance, creating routines of 10-15 minutes for ourselves can be very difficult. I love the metaphor of “juggling fire” which, when you read it, is the best way to describe the balancing act educators have to deal with. This chapter has darker tones to it that describe the realities not everyone outside of education knows about but also gives pragmatic ideas and suggestions, as it does throughout the book.

I think this book is a useful tool for all individual teachers as well as leaders or anyone that wants to know the reality of the contemporary system of education in the UK.

By Jenny Geertson

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