2 Years of AHT: Find Out How I Wrote "The Action Hero Teacher" Book
A good friend reminded me that that it has been 2 years since I released "The Action Hero Teacher" book (11th March 2019) & I completely forgot it's the anniversary!
Guys if you don't mind, please indulge me with this post as I explain how AHT came to life.
How the Action Hero Teacher was born
The idea for AHT floated into my head around the end of 2017. After many CPD sessions about Behavior Management, I always felt a little empty: The approaches were rightly based on science but was delivered in a way only a licenced therapist would understand.
I knew that teachers didn't need someone who lectures them but a friendly voice that would give them practical, no BS help that would make the difference in their teaching career.
I made up my mind that I would write the book in early 2018. But I wanted to make sure that I wasn't being a lunatic.
'No One Will Take You Seriously'
I approached a black colleague of mine with the idea & painted the picture of what I wanted to do. He got excited suggesting all the things I could do with the text but as if hit by an invisible slap in the chops, his face fell & his enthusiasm escaped like air from leaky party balloon.
When I asked him what was wrong, he defeatedly said that the book "sounds like a great idea but as a black man, schools will never take you seriously." He didn't say it to hurt me but point at the grim reality that I faced. Again, my race would be the deciding factor.
After doing some research I discovered to my horror, that the only British Black Male that wrote about the subject of schooling was an education legend called Dr Tony Sewell - who ironically spoke about the systemic racism within the Education system.
I couldn't believe that in 2018, that representation in Education was so shockingly poor. Being the stubborn so-&-so I was, I decided that I would join the club. But I didn't realise that entry to that club would so tough.
Grief, Doubt and Pooey Nappies
The next year was hellish - between losing a close family member & having a child, it was an emotional rollercoaster. I had to fight the constant doubts that I wasn't good enough, that I didn't have the connections, that 'I would be laughed out of the room' if I presented my ideas.
But I had to finish the book. I made myself a promise & I wasn't going to break it.
I wasn't an author. The most I had written was for my university dissertation & which was only 20,000 words - My 1st book draft was close to 76,000! But I got down to 63k in the end with the help of some editors and my eternally-patient wife...
When I finally finished it in December 2018 & I started at the manuscript on my laptop - a mix of exhilaration & absolute terror gripped me. I wrote a book - but will anyone read it?
'I'm No JK Rowling'
I released the book with very little fanfare. I didn't want a huge release because I was terrified that it was going to flop. I told a cousin of mine a week before the release date & he told me I made a mistake because "nobody buys books anymore."
Gotta love family right? 😂😂😂
The book had a slow start... I earned enough money to treat my family to a half-decent night out - I wasn't a JK Rowling for sure but I was happy that I kept that promise to myself.
But as the months went on, the positive reviews kept on rolling in, people referred the book to their colleagues, asked me to give small presentations online. Then the legendary comedian, writer & presenter Viv Groskop invited me to her podcast.
Viv interviewed the Democratic Presidential Candidate, Senator Hillary Clinton & she picked some bloke from the mean streets of London! For that I am eternally grateful - Viv's podcast marked the start of great things for AHT.
It's All Because of You
The book has gone from strength to strength taking me to places that I didn't imagine when I wrote it. I started a blog last spring to keep me sane during Lockdown 1 (I can't believe we are numbering these now) & my blog won an award - go figure.
Why I am saying all this? Because it was YOU that made this happen.
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to every single person that has supported AHT by buying the book, reading the blogs, getting involved in the #ActionHeroTeacher Twitter chats, listening to the podcasts or sending me a kind tweet.
Thank you to the people that referred me to others & left shining reviews. Thank you to the people that helped my blog get voted one of the Top Education Blogs in the UK last year.
These things are never ever underestimated or unappreciated.
All those things mean the world to me. I am working hard to bring some more AHT ideas into the world but thank you for all those he journeyed with me so far.
Thank you for proving that my colour should not be a barrier to contributing to this thing called Education.
& one last thing: If you have an idea to do something & it helps people, just do it.
Yes, it will be hard & you will have setbacks but there is no sweeter feeling in the world to see your ideas come to life & those ideas making the world a better place.
Karl from actionheroteacher.com