I've just finished reading this book, and it's available to buy now through The Edudicator Shop via Amazon. Use this label Book Review to find books I review in the future, for now this is my first and only recommendation!
This book is about Mr Chalk, an ex Maths teacher turned supply, who is positioned in a failing comprehensive on the wrong side of the tracks. It talks about his daily working life, the students, teachers and managers he meets and also details exactly what Mr. Chalk thinks about them. It's based on a real school, and real people, with all the names changed.
I loved this book, it was hilarious, and I couldn't put it down. My most favourite anecdote was when Mr Chalk accidentally rips the sleeve of a student's puffa coat and ends up pinning it on the wall as a 'trophy', which causes the student to storm out, at which point he winds the rest of the class up by telling them said student has had an accident and has gone to clean himself up.
There are tons of very funny, sarcastic and clever tales of how Mr. Chalk deals with the students in a similar manner, and they are split into very small chapters, as if split into lessons themselves, which really keeps you reading on.
The aspect I enjoyed the most though was all the food for thought Frank Chalk provides in his musings about why everything has gone so wrong in education, and what needs to be done to fix it. I agreed with so many of the points, particularly his list of subjects students need to learn, and his ideas about their being 4 different types of schools.
The only part I didn't like was the way he spoke about other, struggling teachers. While he does acknowledge that a lot of the problems teachers have and are blamed for are not actually their fault, he does spend a lot of time dismissing those who are off with stress.
Several times he belittles stress as just teachers crying to their GP and being fluffy bunnies who can't cope. He also mentions that because of unions, incompetent teachers can't be fired at all. I disagree that that is true, and that is what is going on.
However, he does acknowledge several times that the working conditions for teachers are ridiculously bad. I do think a lot of the things he suggests would stop so many teachers suffering from mental illnesses, and it is absolutely worth reading to discover what they are. This book will certainly be the inspiration for future blog posts.
I also believe there is a sequel out very soon, called "Education - My Part in its Downfall".