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It's Your Time You're Wasting: A Teacher's Tales of Classroom Hell
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79 of 84 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 19 November 2006
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
on 4 April 2011
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
on 6 September 2006
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
on 30 September 2006
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
on 29 October 2006
'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
on 21 September 2006
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
on 5 May 2011
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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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2007
For once, a book about teaching that isn't all 'holier than thou'. /'this guy works in a school from hell and isn't afraid to say so. His stories are hair raising and extremely funny whilst his serious points are very powerful. He's honest about his own shortcomings and whilst he gives it to the parents with both barrells he obviously has a soft spot for some of the poor kids caught up in the mess we call inner city schools.

In short, it will make you laugh and it may make you cry... It may even make you emigrate!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on 2 September 2006
This book is a shocking indictment of the current condition of the education system in this country. It should be on the compulsory reading list of every MP, every LEA employee, and every parent. Perhaps then things will alter, for once, for the better, to the benefit of our children and our country. However, it is also hilarious, and one of the funniest books I've read in a long time.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on 18 September 2006
This is the story of a year in the school from hell. It's hilarious but at the same time a savage indictment of our education system and Government spin. Although it is very funny, it's carefully written to bring out some important points which will be horrifying to non teachers but are well known to those of us in the profession. This is the first book I've ever read about teaching that actually tells it as it really is.
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