Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Memoirs from the Tough School

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Memoirs from the Tough School

Article excerpt

Byline: By David Whetstone

I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here! by Francis Gilbert (Short Books, pounds 9.99)

"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach."

Anyone who still holds George Bernard Shaw's daft remark close to their heart should really read Francis Gilbert's frank and revealing little account of his life as a London teacher.

In the tough classrooms he has inhabited, there is clearly an urgent need for those who can. The teachers who survive here have to be special sort of people, not those who have settled for life as an "also ran".

Gilbert genuinely wanted to be a teacher but initially for the wrong reasons. A self-confessed "hippy who had arrived on the planet 20 years too late", he reckoned that in teaching English he "would be able to teach Blake to working class kids and liberate them from their mind-forged manacles".

Teaching for real soon liberated him from that idealistic notion.

Thrown in the deep end at his first school when the class teacher went off sick, he had to cope with kids "laughing and jeering" at him. …

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