As a child, I did not love reading. Reading took up too much of my precious time, and time for a child is considered much better spent building tree houses, fossicking through storm waterways, playing with neighbourhood friends and saving wildlife. My imagination was always rife with ideas on what I wanted to do, and there was never a lot of time for boredom in my mind. However, my lack of reading and English skills soon caught up when I entered high school and discovered I had English skills that were below par.
My adolescent years saw English class as a battle, and I never quite understood why we needed to structure essays a certain way and struggled with being able to put together words and ideas. I would not be surprised if I were an undiagnosed child with some learning difficulty.
Some teachers teach, and some teachers break down the barriers around learning and create understanding, which makes them memorable teachers. For myself, I was lucky to have two people in my life who were not only stand-out teachers but true mentors.
Brian Price was my year eight teacher. He improved my Mathematics and English so much in one year that I finally understood what I had not for the past four years of schooling. Brian brought me to the required level of education to get me through my first few high school years. My second memorable teacher is Stephanie Keen, or Mrs Keen, as I call her. Struggling with English in Year twelve only meant that I had to do a repeat year of it to make up for my lost NCIA credits in Year thirteen. Mrs Keen was so patient, and her ability to help me get through that final year of high school was my most memorable. I went from disliking English to loving having double periods of it with her. Vivid memories of reading up to twenty books in one term and writing book reports one after the after seemed to flow seamlessly with the plan she put in place for me. Stephanie gave me small challenges and tasks, which gradually improved my ability and significantly improved my attitude. How she explained and taught was personal; she understood my learning style and significantly improved my relationship with reading and writing. I made it through my end-of-year exams, passing English and even being proud of getting a Merit in one of my essays. If you had seen my previous years’ work, you would know this was a significant improvement from a Not Achieved result. Mrs Keen is who I credit today for my love of writing and wanting to improve my English skills. She created small changes in me, which led to lifelong habits.
This brings me to what I am reading today and what skills I need to improve.
If you are looking for a book that helps you work through making small but significant changes in your life, then I highly recommend reading Atomic Habits by James Clear. I’m currently listening to it as an audiobook while doing school runs with the kids. Reading and keeping up with all the other hobbies and tasks in one’s life can be a struggle, but thank goodness to the person who invented audiobooks. I have read this book also, but I love it so much that I play it every six months to help refresh my mind on what I need to do to create successful changes.
This excellent book is like a stepping stone to improving one’s life. Once you have read the book, you have the key fundamentals to understand what needs to be done to create habit-forming behaviours, just like the small steps Mrs Keen took with me to help me get on track with my English.
Let me know if you have read it or are planning on giving it a read. I would love to know what you think of Atomic Habits or if you have any recommendations for me.