Botheredness ®

Stories, stance and pedagogy

By: Hywel Roberts


Or purchase digital products from our partners:


Products specifications
Attribute nameAttribute value
Size222 x 182mm
PublishedJune 2023

Written by Hywel Roberts, Botheredness®: Stories, stance and pedagogy is a funny, engaging and rapturous read that will inspire teachers to reclaim their professional imagination and reignite the excitement they felt when they entered the teaching profession. It’s about botheredness – a made-up word that everyone understands.

This is an education book that is like no other that has gone before. It won’t tell you what to do minute by minute, lesson by lesson, day by day. It won’t batter you with impenetrable research or tell you what you must think. You won’t even find a scheme of work in it – some planning ideas, for sure, even a template or two, but there’s no spoon-feeding here. It’s just a book that invites you to consider where you are in your own educational journey. It’s a book to get you bothered.

Botheredness® is a word Hywel Roberts uses to sum up the kind of authentic care and adult positioning that is real and deliberate and gets children and young people on board with learning. It is the holy grail of teaching and something that will both significantly improve your enjoyment of teaching and benefit your classes enormously.

This book is therefore an exploration of the road less travelled, backed up with Hywel’s own experiences, reflections and research down the rabbit hole of contemporary education. It’s about the reinstatement of professional integrity, the teacher as storyteller, and the need for our professional imaginations to be nurtured and curated. Hywel sets out to help teachers enhance their understanding of what it means to lead learning and thinking, to stand beside children as well as in front of them, whilst developing their knowledge acquisition with compassion, warmth and optimism.

If you are looking for an education book that will inspire not dictate, that will entertain, challenge and fire up your imagination in equal measure, that allows you to think beyond a path laid out by scripted lessons, downloadable schemes and quick-fix fads, then this is the book for you.

Providing clear strategies around imaginative and effective planning, supported by genuine examples of powerful classroom work from primary, special and secondary settings, this book is an essential guide to reclaiming your professional warmth, passion, and care – your botherednesss – in the classroom. Written by a travelling teacher and film buff who’s on a mission to put botheredness into classrooms everywhere.

Suitable for teachers, teaching assistants and school leaders, as well as other education professionals.

Picture for author Hywel Roberts

Hywel Roberts

Hywel Roberts has taught in secondary, primary and special settings for almost 30 years. He contributes to university education programmes and writes regularly for TES as the ‘travelling teacher’. A true Northerner, Hywel deals in botheredness, creative practice, curriculum development and imagineering. He was recently described as ‘a world leader in enthusiasm’ and his first book, Oops! Helping Children Learn Accidentally, is a favourite among teachers. Hywel is a much sought-after educational speaker, an Independent Thinking Associate and has contributed to events worldwide. He also contributes fiction to prison-based literacy reading programmes developed by The Shannon Trust and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Click here to listen in on Hywel's podcast with Pivotal Education - 'teaching hooks and exercising imagination'.

Click here to watch a video interview with Hywel as part of The Education Foundation's series of Education Britain Conversations.

Hywel Roberts in the Time Out Room ' PP174 Podcast on Pivotal Education.


  1. Botheredness is a charming book... I hope [it] falls into the hands of newly qualified teachers and those who are experienced yet still have some reserves left for trying a different approach beyond the ‘Week Three’ restraint of curriculum delivery. The chapter titled Curriculum Adventures includes a recollection of a lesson based on Harper Lee’s ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and it is breathtakingly beautiful. We may not all be able to teach like Hywel, but we can all be bothered to tell the story of those who do. And we must.

  2. Botheredness is all at once a lighthearted glimpse into the classroom, a therapy session, reset button and, importantly, a call to arms as the author gently guides his readers through the concept of botheredness through personal, brilliantly described classroom stories. I found myself laughing, cringing with embarrassment and jumping for joy visualising the captivating moments that every teacher will know.

    This book is useful for both classroom teachers, and senior leaders, who want to improve engagement in the classroom and build positive working relationships in the school.

  3. How can we get children interested and invested in what we’re trying to teach them? It’s a question that cuts to the very core of what teachers do, and one that Roberts endeavours to tackle at length here. In his telling, the ‘botheredness’ of the title refers to ‘classroom/institution-level monkey-giving’ that teachers should want to see students reciprocate. What follows is a cornucopia of rich ideas for attaching metaphorical jump leads to your lessons via strategies, ideas and techniques informed by Roberts’ own secondary teaching career, but also from the primary phase and special education. The tone throughout is that of a kindly, lively and often mischievous, yet supportive voice in the staff room, barrelling through the meaning and utility of phronesis one moment, before dropping a neat pop culture reference or wry anecdote in one of the book’s many entertaining footnotes the next. Highly recommended.

  4. Botheredness is a beautiful balance of deep classroom practice and thorough research. It is funny, tear jerking and thought-provoking all at once. If you feel that your teaching style is a bit stuck, Hywel is exactly what you need.

  5. I have just finished the book today and it has given me that energised feeling that brand-new teachers get when you first step into a classroom. Hywel was the reason I became a teacher. His enthusiasm shone through in everything he did. He told stories, he listened to our stories and most of all he was bothered by what we had to say. I wanted to be like that. I wanted to be bothered.

    After reading this book I realised that I'm already doing some of the things he mentions, and it has given me the reassurance that I might actually be doing a good job. There are lots of ideas that I knew of already and have used in the past but maybe I need to revisit them and pull them out of the dusty drawer. It's also given me the inspiration to try out new techniques with some classes and some students for whom I've maybe thought that nothing was working.

    This book is brilliant for any teacher. New, old, inexperienced or near retirement. It's also very useful for others in education, from teaching assistants to further up the management scale.

    If anything, it shows the reader that the most important element of working with young people is that to get the most out of them, you need to show that you are actually bothered. Bothered about what you are doing, bothered about why you are doing it, but most importantly you need to show that you are bothered about them.

  6. This book places teaching where it should be: at the centre of a nexus of art and science and thoughtfulness and resourcefulness and practicality and dreaming and love. This is a book for all teachers and, let’s face it, all human beings. Read it and grow.

  7. Hywel takes being bothered about teaching to a whole new level in this wonderful book. It is brilliantly unique – it's neither a guide nor a ‘normal’ educational publication. Then what is it? In his own words it is a ‘reverie’ and he is right. Read it and you will be absorbed into a world where hilarious and often moving stories intertwine with educational research, where anecdotes and personal reflection will make you laugh out loud, where you will be inspired and motivated. You won't want to put this down, and you will find yourself being more bothered about teaching than you ever thought possible.

  8. Botheredness is an illuminative, practical and uplifting book. In it Hywel describes how – through high expectations – children and young people can be ‘protected into learning’ so that they can become invested in what they learn and succeed relative to their individual starting point. Leaders of learning can enable this to happen by being warm, principled, alert, optimistic, authentic and compassionate.

    Let’s say you want to develop your art and craft and have some laughs along the way. Let’s say you want to feed your soul and, maybe, feed Colin the lion too. Let’s say you want to open a treasure chest that contains the experiences, stories and creative ideas of a travelling teacher. Then Botheredness is the book for you. Read it and you will be a better botheredness builder.

  9. Botheredness is a remarkable book and one that only Hywel Roberts could have written. It is a brilliant combination of academia and anecdote, of evidence and experience, and is studded with cultural references. It absolutely gets to the heart of what really matters if we want to enrich the lives of learners. It is warm, practical, entertaining, helpful and brave; all the things that mark Hywel out in all that he does. And I am not just saying this because I get some nice mentions in the book, but I am honoured that I do.

  10. Let's say ... as a teacher you only get out as much as you are prepared to put in. It is a truism: children work out what we are bothered about and how much we can be bothered about them. Hywel's book gets to the heart of good teaching as the right combination of method and warmth and the stories he tells will resonate. As you read the book, you will be reminded of the power of good teaching and will feel glad that Hywel has bothered to write it.

  11. Botheredness could not be timelier in education! Weaving together pedagogy, philosophy, theory and creative curriculum, the book provides a critical space to reflect on teacher identity and the importance of the professional imagination. The book foregrounds authentic care, ethical and relational learning, articulating pedagogy in new ways which empower both teacher and learner. Grounded in years of professional expertise, Hywel provides powerful anecdotes of creative practice alongside versatile examples of curriculum design through story and drama. It is essential reading for any teacher in education who wishes to expand their pedagogical repertoire. Written with heart and wit – it is also an utter joy to read! Absolutely brilliant!

  12. I find it hard to write down the impact Hywel had on my life since being a very lost teenage soul in high school. This book says it all though; the stories he writes down resonate with me and how my time went with him as a teacher too. I was somewhat lost throughout my last few years at school, and Hywel and another few teachers were really the main ones who rooted for me, took their time to understand me and pushed me to do better and never give up.

    I have two children of my own now and still see what a profound effect having great teachers in your life can do and what course they can send you on. This book isn’t just for teachers, it’s definitely food for thought for a lot of people.

  13. Talk about somebody who is ‘bothered’ about how children learn – Hywel Roberts! This is not a book about individual ‘whistles-and-bells’ lessons; this is a book about a whole school strategy that gets children invested in their learning and the curriculum. Hywel has worked alongside Queens Church of England Academy for over twelve months, and this book epitomises the importance of using stories as an educational hook and stimulus. The pupils at Queens relish their learning and are able to make valuable links across the curriculum simply by embracing their imagination. What more could a head teacher ask for than for her teachers to be ‘bothered’ about their teaching, and the children to be ‘bothered’ about their learning? Thank you, Hywel.

  14. Botheredness is a fantastic read not just for its content but Hywel’s natural storytelling style which leads you through the book, keeping you fully engaged and unwilling to put it down. If you’ve worked in education or been educated to any level, you will enjoy this book.

  15. Ripping read, cracking book. Full of fun and bursting with brilliant ideas. Every page fizzes with the same energy and inspiration I got from Hywel as a pupil twenty-five years ago. It is personally nostalgic because it’s so recognisable and yet it is so timeless, and so vital for breathing life into lessons today. Makes me want to go back to school in the hope that every class buzzes like this. Read it, absorb it, live it, teach it. Top stuff.

  16. Botheredness is a book about rethinking how we teach children but will appeal to anyone that has ever taught, trained an apprentice, led a cookery class, etc. – the content has far broader applications.

    In part a critique of the educational status quo, Botheredness is littered with engaging reminiscences of life on the educational coalface, simple tips to inspire young people and a healthy dose of pop culture. Hywel speaks with the authority of experience and the warmth of a veteran educator that never fell out of love with the romance of the profession. Like Hywel’s lessons, Botheredness strikes the perfect balance between describing in detail a new path for teachers and keeping the reader (professional or otherwise) engaged and entertained at all times.

    This book feels like sitting in a warm and welcoming hostelry with friends and colleagues, setting the world to rights and landing upon an exciting new idea. Hywel has given a lot to the teaching world and Botherednesssings with hope and aspiration throughout. A must for anyone who works or dabbles in education.

Write your own review