The Maverick Teacher

Is there a place for schools to have maverick teachers? These are people who think and​ act in an independent way, often ​behaving ​differently from the ​expected.  Maverick literally means an unorthodox or independent-minded person. The legend of the ‘maverick’ teacher is someone who, perhaps through seeming to break some rules, ended up having a distinctly ‘good’ effect. 

Renowned educationist Dylan Wiliam is fond of saying: 

‘The truth is that, in education, everything works somewhere and nothing works everywhere.’ 

I think he means that ‘teaching’ will never be able to fully describe a single ‘best approach’ to children’s learning. He has a point: boy, do we get it wrong sometimes!

The reality is that if you dig deep enough behind the headlines of neuroscience and educational philosophy you start to understand that humans are ‘crazily’ complex and, of course, unpredictable beings. Our own individual journey through life remains an unpredictable work in progress; trial and error, if you will. 

The reality is that children need inspiration. Naturally, we look for a connection with those who teach us. It is when our connections with those teachers hit a unique, bespoke and unexpected moment that these lightning-charged, transformative experiences are at their strongest. 

These last weeks of Autumn term at St Peter’s has been challenging. I will level with you: my head has been in my hands at least twice. (Twice a day, every day)! Ha! Staff and pupil absences, and Christmas events being repurposed on a quick turnaround time frame as a result of Covid measures, have really stretched us. But, don’t panic! This is just when the maverick teacher shines. 

Every member of staff came together, shoulder-to-shoulder, to keep the St Peter’s train rolling smoothly down the track. Even those quarantining at home were ‘Google Meeting’ pupils who were at home. Teachers and teaching assistants everywhere stepped into the breach, providing an exciting and, frankly, brilliant Christmas week for everyone. This was all patched together by maverick educators who really, really care and really take pride in what they provide for their charges, even when under immense pressure. Well done and thank you to you all. 

Let’s find and value the potential maverick in each teacher and pupil, harnessing that potential to do the wrong thing at the right time, in the process enabling the extraordinary to happen. Our staff’s ability to think on their feet, teach in the moment, provide for pupils’ needs quickly and go the extra mile, allowing the pupils to thrive, is impressive. 

As for the pupils … well you only need to take a look at their faces in this week’s newsletter to know how magical they all were over these challenging, Covid pandemic weeks. Your children have represented themselves and your families impeccably in the run-up to the Christmas break. Amazing and maverick children!

May I take this opportunity to thank all parents for their unending support of us maverick staff and for keeping their sense of humour when timings have slipped or parking has been challenging!! It was a pleasure working with you this Autumn Term. 

You are all wonderful. 

Merry Christmas.  

I look forward to the New Year and the new term.

Lucy Ball

Deputy Head, Teaching and Learning. 



Lucy Ball requests help.

Can anyone please just get rid of Covid?

Do let me know if you can solve this.


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