'Hilarious coming-of-age adventures of an embattled young teacher' - Philip Norman
When Phil Ball left university with a workmanlike English degree to his name and no discernible ambitions, he wasn't entirely sure what to do next. So like many before him he thought he'd giving teaching a go. Why not?
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...
“Comic carnage ... Warming and strangely familiar”