The Hapless Teacher's Handbook (Anglais) Broché – 1 mars 2007
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Revue de presse
Présentation de l'éditeur
This is the comic story of one man's painfully slow metamorphosis into a teacher at an everyday comprehensive and his encounters with other remarkable teachers and pupils along the way. The good, the bad, the violent, the victimised and the clinically insane: from his first teaching practice nemesis, Alan Plant, who knows his dark secret, to the pupil who believes he is a reincarnation of the poet Andrew Marvell. It is a tale of the highs and lows of attempting to teach: from the joy of really making a difference to young minds to being physically set upon by a teenage horde.
And that's just what happens in the classroom. Beyond it is the real world of teachers behind staff-room doors: desperate lives, unseemly professional competition, a diet of cigarettes, alcohol and cold coffee, casual sex and general social dysfunction. Not a great example, but the truth...
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In 1978 a Cleethorpes native (a Meggie in the local parlance) called Phil Ball completed his teacher training at a comprehensive (i.e. state) school in the town, before going on to the marginally superior outskirts of Hull in his first year of teaching. Near thirty years later he has composed an excellent, funny, insightful and even moving memoir of those early days in his career.
In 1978 I was wearing short pants at Springfield First school just a mile or so up the road (having my arm broken by being pushed off the climbing frame on my first day) and, although I have a slightly different perspective on education at the time it certainly brings back a great sense of time and place. Having followed his footsteps as in educator (including some time subbing in the school in which he did his teaching practice) I can say that many things in schools may have changed (the insane amount of smoking amongst the staff for instance), but many things remain - the hassle and the troubles, but also the sense that you just might, once or twice, make a difference.