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It's Your Time You're Wasting: A Teacher's Tales of Classroom Hell (Frank Chalk Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Frank Chalk
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Frank Chalk is an ordinary teacher in an ordinary British school... a school where the kids get drunk, beat up the teachers and take drugs - when they can be bothered to turn up.

It's Your Time You're Wasting is the blackly humorous diary of a year in his working life.

Chalk confiscates porn, booze and errant trainers, fends off angry parents and worries about the conscientious pupils whose lives and futures are being systematically wrecked, recording his experiences in a funny and readable book.

He offers top tips for dealing with unruly kids, muses on the shortcomings of the staff (including his own) and even spots the occasional spark of hope amid all the despair.

Prepare to be horrified and amused by the unvarnished truth about the bottom end of our state education system. A must-read for parents, teachers and anyone who cares about our country's future.

From the Author:

I started out as a nice liberal bloke who thought the best of everyone. I changed, over time. This book is dedicated to the good kids - there are plenty of them, but they're being slowly crushed by the bad - and several hundred thousand hard-working teachers, who do their best against the impossible odds created by our mad, politically-correct nightmare of an education system. It's a funny book - I hope - with a serious message; the time for talking is over. We need to sort our schools out now, before it really is too late.

Frank Chalk.

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From the Author

I started out as a nice liberal bloke who thought the best of everyone. I changed, over time. I believed Blair when he said he'd sort out education. How wrong I was. This book is dedicated to the good kids - there are plenty of them, but they're being slowly crushed by the bad - and several hundred thousand hard-working teachers, who do their best against the impossible odds created by our mad, politically-correct nightmare of an education system. It's a funny book - I hope - with a serious message; the time for talking is over. We need to sort our schools out now, before it really is too late. Frank Chalk.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

FOR the 500th time, the classroom door has been left unlocked so the Year 9 group are running around inside.
They’ve broken a chair and are as high as kites. It takes a good ten minutes to get everyone vaguely calmed down. Darren then destroys all my efforts by treating us to his party piece – dancing around, like some half witted rap star, jabbing his finger in the air to the amusement of the group. I resist the strong temptation to club him over the head with a chair leg that is lying alone on the carpet and instead start again the process of quietening them down. Although we’re close to Easter, it’s turned cold and it’s been snowing for a couple of hours, which means the kids are absolutely hyper (don’t ask me why).
I get them started on the work and then notice that Declan is reading a magazine under his desk. I couldn’t really care less, but several others have seen him and it’s not the sort of magazine I would show my mother. I manoeuvre myself into position, edging closer but facing away from him, pretending to be helping Janet with her work. Then, like a trapdoor spider, I pounce; the magazine – Big Ones – is in my hand and I’m away from Declan before he has time to notice. He shrieks and flails around. I quickly reassure him before he gets too agitated: ‘Sorry Declan, I’ll give it back to you at the end of the lesson.’
No I won’t, I’ll burn it or shred it. I’m a classroom kleptomaniac. I take everything I can get my hands on. And I never ask anyone to hand anything over, as I don’t like to put myself into a position where they can refuse; I simply take it, while apologising profusely. If they freak out, I just chuck whatever I’ve got into the corridor and them with it.
As the lesson drags inexorably on, Shazney suddenly asks me ‘Sir, How much do you earn?’
‘£100,000 per year,’ I reply, in a matter-of-fact way.
There are cries of disbelief.
‘No way! Mr Wilkinson said he gets £30,000!’
I explain how Mr Wilkinson is simply being modest.
They look suitably impressed, and treat me with a new respect for a moment or two, before they forget what they’ve just been told.
There are only two things that modern kids respect: money and appearance.
Lewis is showing the magazine-less Declan his new trainers. Like the Government, our SMT comes up with endless new ideas to combat problems but no real plan on how to actually carry them out and deal with the consequences. Recently they have decided to clamp down on kids wearing trainers in school. I’m all for clamping down on anything and in principle this is fine. But in practice it’s a nightmare, because there is no coherent plan laying down what will happen if a pupil refuses to change his shoes, or – quite likely – simply doesn’t have any others.
The kids know this and more and more of them have actually started flouting the prohibition. I overhear Lewis boast that he is ‘not taking them off for no one’.
Well, I can never resist a challenge.
I look over.
‘Gosh, they’re smart trainers, Lewis; I wish I had some like that myself.’
The bait is cast, and he shows them off in all their garish splendour. They are absolutely foul – white with gold braid and flashing lights. I ask him for a closer look at the lighting facility and he passes me one to examine. One fluid movement of my arm and – whoops! – there it goes, out of the window and into the snow covering the playground below.
With a roar of fury, and various promises of what dad is going to do to me, off he hops to find it.
Kylie, a quiet little girl, is struggling with an aspect of the work. This is unusual, as she is a very bright kid with an aptitude for schoolwork that’s incredible, given her background. She is from one of the roughest families in the area. Her father is in prison for attempted murder and both of her half-brothers, ex-pupils of ours, are in and out of jail about as often as the warders. Her mother is an alcoholic who has four other children younger than Kylie by three different blokes. I’ve been to their house; it’s filthy, it smells and the noise from the TV, the stereo, the crying toddlers and babies and her mother’s loud and foul mouth is amazing. With all this against her, this poor little mite is fighting and battling to succeed. She’s polite and attentive, she doesn’t mix with the rougher gangs of girls in school and she tries ever so hard. Her homework is done on time, and is always among the best in the class. She seems to have grasped that she has one shot in life,!
and that this is it. We talk about her in the Staff Room; we’re determined to do whatever we can to help her. I spend a few minutes crouching by her desk, going through the questions that have been set, and get a tremendous kick out of watching her little face light up as she unravels the problems and begins to understand.
‘What are you going to do when you grow up, Kylie?’ I ask her, fairly sotto voce.
‘I’m not sure, Sir,’ she says. ‘I’d like to be a doctor but I probably won’t be able to do that.’
I grin at her. ‘Of course you can be a doctor, Kylie. You’re a clever girl. You just need to keep working hard, that’s all, and keep on trying and believing in yourself. After all, if I can be a teacher…’
She smiles shyly and blushes.
If she can just keep her head above water I really think she’ll make something of her life.
I have my fingers crossed so hard they’re going white.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1503 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Publisher: Monday Books (16 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004GEAM1S
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • : Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (293 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #21,282 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Telling it like it is 19 Nov. 2006
By A. Miles VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I spent several highly stressful and completely pointless years teaching in the UK system before, thank God, returning to International School education. Like Frank here, I was stunned that the fourth largest economy in the world was educating its children in a manner more suited to the occupational therapy wing of a South American prison. Why don't any of the photocopiers ever work? Why spend millions on computers and then omit to employ any trained staff to maintain them? Why are staffrooms in such a neglected state that they would cause strike action at a Ukrainian pig farm? Why spend thousands of man hours writing, distributing and training in various disciplinary policies which are then perpetually ignored? I could go on for pages. Buy this book, make everyone you know read it and then post it to your MP.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, Sad, The Truth 4 April 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I tried teaching for 2 years, after being in business for 20 years.
I can attest that this book is a sad testament to the state of typical comprehensive schools in Britain (I trained, taught and provided cover in about 5 schools in small towns in Cambridgeshire. Only one was tolerable. This was 10 years ago.)

Upon leaving I had come to my own conclusion that a minority (but not an insubstantial minority) of pupils are wrecking the education and prospects of hundreds of other pupils. Wrecking the day-to-day, our-by-hour experience of learning in a classroom ... and wrecking the fabric of education by vandalizing the school buildings and driving out so many teachers.

It's lose-lose-lose.
The disruptive children are wrecking their own life prospects (and probably developing mental problems due to be compelled to attend an institution they so clearly despise being in.)
Teachers lives are being wrecked, and professional ideals withering (I left teaching and so do thousands of others)
But most profoundly tragic of all, the education of hundreds of thousands of children are being wrecked.

I advocate lowering the school leaving age and/or letting children leave as soon as they have passed minimum standards in maths, reading, writing.
The disruptive children just might be motivated enough to study so that they can leave early.
The students who want to learn and the teachers who want to teach can then get on with education.

Education is both a right and a privilege. If you stamp on the rights of others, then you should loose the privilege so that others can enjoy their rights.
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58 of 62 people found the following review helpful
By susie
Format:Paperback
This book is witty, original and enlightening.

It's Your Time You're Wasting is the first honest book about teaching that I've ever read. It is also hilarious. I read it in two days. I highly recommend it to teachers and parents who want to know what goes on in the average comprehensive school these days. You will be amazed!
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Frighteningly true 30 Sept. 2006
By John
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From my experience of secondary education in a deprived inner city school, I have to say that there is nothing in the book that surprised me. It may be a crumb of comfort to Frank that there are other teachers who are buckling under the same pressures as him and his colleagues.

This book is wittily written, with Frank's unique attitude to discipline showing through on many occasions. I wonder if Frank knows any primary school teachers who are willing to commit their views to print? It would be interesting to find out why so many kids, sorry, learners, manage to get to the age of 11 without being able to read or write.
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65 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uncomfortable reading 29 Oct. 2006
Format:Paperback
'Frank Chalk' has done the unthinkable - exposed the horrors of our modern education system: violence, drugs, truancy, illiteracy and the absurd impotence of teachers when it comes to dealing with these issues.

I find his attitudes a little right-wing for my taste but he fully justifies himself and is a likeable author. His writing boldly highlights just how badly we are letting down children in this country, and makes me fearful for what society will be like as today's generation of schoolkids grows up.

Delivered in a light-hearted anecdotal style, this book is very accessible. I'll definitely be passing it round my friends - time spent on the bookshelf is time wasted, because if enough people read it you never know - something might start to change!
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I laughed and laughed... 21 Sept. 2006
Format:Paperback
The thought of listening to a teacher moaning about teaching would normally send me to sleep, but this book was recomended to me by a friend in that profession. It is absolutely brilliant! Loads of very funny stories, he doesn't make himself out to be a martyr like they usually do and he certainly doesn't pull any punches with either the kids, their parents or some of the other teachers in the hellhole he works at.

If you're not familiar with modern state education then like me you will be shocked. What the hell has gone wrong with it? Chalk goes through all the problems and doesn't take the easy way out. He goes through his solutions too. All in all a great read that I couldn't put down.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a retired teacher who spent many years in both permanent jobs and in supply work - in high schools and middle schools between the mid 1960s and 2000 - I know only too well what Frank Chalk is talking about. The dramatic deterioration in discipline, systematic erosion of teachers' authority and constant meddling by successive governments have reduced the education in some parts of this country to a farce. The benefits culture has spawned an underclass that not only has no interest in education but treats it with derision. The massive injection of capital that has been poured into education over the years rarely filters down to classrooms where it is desperately needed.

This easy to read book highlights the worst in one particular inner-city school. There are many laughs along the way but they are bitter-sweet because, in the final analysis, too many of our children are being badly let down and condemned to a lifetime of unemployability with all the attendant knock-on effects that will inevitably have on society as a whole.

Frank Chalk does offer thoughts on improving the system towards the end of the book. No-one who has not witnessed education at the 'chalk face' in at least the worst - and best - of schools should presume to tell teachers how to do their jobs. In addition this book should be compulsory reading for anyone in government - both national and local. Then, perhaps, the plight of our disaffected children and their demoralised teachers might be taken seriously and steps to 'turn the tide' may be implemented.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has children in the system, too. Make sure you know what your children's schools are like and avoid those like St Judes in Mr Chalk's book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Buy it and enjoy. Anyone in the education business will sympathise and recognise themselves here.
Published 14 days ago by iceman
5.0 out of 5 stars So true.....
Genuine stories of teaching in the UK classroom. .... renowned to every teacher.
Published 1 month ago by Holden Caulderfield
5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully true
'Frank' knows his stuff - trouble is anyone not in the business won't believe a word of it. You want to know why education's failing? Read this!
Published 1 month ago by T. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining eye opening read
This is a really good read. I can understand Frank s frustration with the education system.
Published 1 month ago by irene
2.0 out of 5 stars The teacher who teaches NOTHING AT ALL and is proud of it
I laughed at some of the stories at the beginning but by half way through I really didn't like the author at all and couldn't finish it. Read more
Published 2 months ago by M.M.M.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Funny
Published 2 months ago by ian benbow
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant book
This book is so funny - when these things happen to someone else! It is also very worrying to think that schools like this exist which we all know they do. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Heather Cairns
5.0 out of 5 stars The only truthful book about UK state education.
This book says everything I wanted to say myself, but was too exhausted after struggling for three years in a similar Comprehensive school (and mine wasn't even inner city... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Elaine Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars it so realistic
You have to laugh otherwise you would cry.
(And many teachers do)
The author does capture the despair not only of teachers working in difficult schools but he also... Read more
Published 4 months ago by sunlovingvic
1.0 out of 5 stars Moan, moan, gripe. Don't bother.
A tale of a supply 'teacher' who couldn't be bothered. Starts off OK, but then just goes on and on with samey stories of how he managed to waste lots of time and how awful... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Carol
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