I will translate every acronym and portmanteau the panjandrums of education feel we can't live without. I will tell you which mug to buy, and where your biggest worries will come from. Tom Bennett, the Behaviour Guru There are many, many teacher training books that claim to offer practical advice; some of them are even useful. There are also humorous books aimed at teachers claiming to offer a zany, sideways look at our madcap world; some of them even contain a joke. This book, although light in tone, has a serious intent: to reassure trainee and beginning teachers that are parachuted into difficult schools without anything like the right level of preparation. Tom Bennett walks you through the training and initial teaching practice, offering practical advice and wisdom from the more experienced vantage point of hindsight. This double-narrator style allows you to identify with the situation, learn from the experience and then critically reflect on your own teaching journey. But most importantly, this is a teacher training guide disguised as something actually readable.
Tom Bennett was born in Scotland where he studied Philosophy because he was told 'that's where the big bucks are.' After realising that even the philosophers you've heard of died in penniless shame, he fell into the liquor/ jazz world of running nightclubs in Soho, London where he met a variety of people who are unlikely to trouble the pages of Country Life anytime soon.
When Soho got tired of him eight years later he made a break for sunlight. He trained to be a teacher, finding his vocation in teaching philosophy and religious studies to children more interested in appearing on TV talent shows and texting unimaginative insults to each other. Soon after, he discovered that teaching children was more like dealing with drunk people in nightclubs than was immediately apparent.
Wanting to share this wisdom with a profession that was trained to be about as unprepared for the demands of dealing with modern classes as it was possible to be, he started writing for the Times Educational Supplement. Eventually he became an online agony uncle for the TES behaviour forum, where desperate teachers posted queries about crowd control, cat herding and dodging missiles. This led to his first book, The Behaviour Guru, released in 2010. A follow up, 'Not Quite a Teacher' is due to be released sometime in 2011, also by Continuum.
Also that year he became a School Teacher Fellow of Corpus Christi, the University of Cambridge, where he began researching the third of his 'Lord of the Rings' style trilogy. Possible names include 'The Return of da Ting.' Nothing set in stone yet.
Other work has included acting as Consultant for Lime Pictures on the documentary 'Teacher in the House' for BBC3, and appearing as a rent-a-gob on BBC1 Breakfast to discuss behaviour management.
He currently teaches in an inner city comprehensive in the East End of London. Because, like Billie Piper, he wants to.