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on 14 May 2004
I am a schoolteacher in exactly the same position as Mr Gilbert. Reading this book was like holding a mirror up to myself. I wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry that so many other teachers are in the same position as me. This book is honest, true and heartfelt. It gave me a boost just when I needed it the most - and everyone else in the staffroom. Great hilarity ensued as passages were read out and guffawed over at lunchtime. Shrieks of "Oh that's so true, he's hit the nail right on the head" echoed down the crisp packet strewn, cheesy feet smelling halls of school X in the dark heart of a poverty stricken area. A must for all inner city school teachers, for country, grammar and public school teachers (so they can heave sighs of relief and see how the other half live) and parents who want to know information about schools that statistics fixing league tables, politicians and Ofsted would never tell you in a million years. Read it and weep!
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on 14 November 2007
This book was well written filled with memorable stories and antics. I was very interested to read a perspective i had not been exposed to, Gilbert's views on multi-cultural students were interesting and made me realise the extra frustrations that must be felt by a teacher in these areas. I understand the statement he sucessfully conveyed about the correlation between poverty and lack of education - we all do. But there was something about this book, something embedding in the writing which made me feel i was reading a preachers narrative, certain lines which made me feel that actually his views were more political liberal rather than a book of experiences and frustrations. He is entitled to do this but as i reader i felt a little sidelined and consequently did not enjoy the book as much as i could have.

Alot of this book is excellent and i am sure many will agree wholeheartedly with Gilbert's sentiments, but i just felt now and again a level of pretentiousness that marred my appreciation.
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on 11 July 2004
I will admit to not buying this book. I managed to finish it in the bookshop in a day... it was that riveting!
This teaching biography should be required reading for all trainee teachers contemplating whether or not to teach in the more challenging schools.
Francis Gilbert tells it like it is and this book will either inspire you or turn you off the idea of teaching in the more challenging inner city schools.
I did note a sense of ambiguity at the end of the book, as to whether or not making the move from inner city School X to an outer London school was actually the right move.
It was notable that Mr Gilbert's teaching at School X made significant positive strides once he had handed in his resignation. The sense of relief probably led to a more human, relaxed mode of teaching... and to more effective teaching. Had he adopted such an approach from the beginning, one wonders if he would have felt compelled to leave School X.
If there is one key theme running through this book it is class and behaviour management. I would suggest that this valuable biography be read prior to Sue Cowley's excellent "Getting the buggers to behave".
Francis Gilbert has written an excellent first book, and I look forward to a sequel covering his experiences at his second school, where he will (hopefully) compare and contrast both sets of experiences.
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on 30 March 2004
There were two moments in 'I'm a Teacher, Get Me out of Here' when I was tempted to hurl the book against the wall in sheer exasperation. The first was when Mr Gilbert admits that he was accepted for teacher training because he parroted the view that Standard English should be ignored because grammar represents an attack on the dialect of the working classes, and the second was when he claimed that he was informed at an interview for a job at the end of his probationary year that he was clearly 'potential headship material'. Oh really? It's this kind of pomposity, self belief and arrogance which often makes old-guard, experienced teachers like myself want to slap young recruits in the face with a wet flannel!
Francis Gilbert,however, does not emerge as an unlikeable figure in this book---in his account of his first year of teaching, he's able to confess to certain types of prattish behaviour---forgetting his glasses and wearing vulgar shirts, for example. But the problem with a book like this is that inevitably the writer ends up describing him or herself as a heroic person--teaching brilliant lessons, working their socks off, devising superb worksheets, 'differentiating' to use a ghastly buzz word etc. and it's a little galling to those of us who have toiled at the chalkface ourselves to have to read that kind of stuff. And what this book lacks is any real analysis of why so many of our secondary schools have gone belly up --and it's not just those in the multi-racial, inner city areas either, where the problems might be obvious, which are failing. ( Ironically, the more settled, leafier, outer London school to which Mr Gilbert retreated after his stint in the inner city was itself threatened with special measures in the Autumn of 2003.) There are some interesting footnotes in the book, but I'd have liked to see these extended, and I'd have liked some more radical, fighting talk about how to improve the organisation of schools and the system. Where does Mr Gilbert stand on teaching English in mixed ability classes for example? Does he still believe (as some English teachers do) that correcting grammar and spelling is wrong? What about OFSTED and the lack of autonomy so many teachers face in the state sector? Does he have a view?
This is an interesting book, a nice try, but it's a little short on ideology and analysis.
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on 16 March 2004
Francis Gilberts first book "I'm a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here!” is as witty and realistic as the title suggests. Gilbert offers a frank and honest portrayal of education within inner city schools, layered with lashings of wit and humour making it, without doubt an engrossing and absorbing read.
Gilbert highlights some of the problems a teacher encounters on a day to day basis; everything from unstable students who are forever causing trouble to photocopying machines. Gilbert delivers his book in a way student, parent and teacher can relate to thus making it suitable for all ages.
The author employs a colloquial tone to add realism to the text, this device also increases the humour; injecting into the book a genuine feel for the people and the places Gilbert encounters on his quest to teach his pupils the power of words.
I recommend this book without reservations.
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on 13 June 2004
This book is very entertaining and a very easy enjoyable read. I read it in one evening because I couldn't put it down. It's only 200 pages long which is probably about right.
Yes as another reviewer has said it lacks analysis of the problems, but it's not that sort of book and if it had been it would be five times longer and very dull. It's based on the authors experiences and how he coped with the difficult teachers and pupils. Having just trained to be a teacher I found it spot on with many of the experiences I have had over the past year.
It is very funny and I highly recommend this book to anyone.
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on 19 July 2015
I found this book in a small booksale the librarian was hosting in the library of my school , going on to study Education at university in September it caught my eye and I thought 50p was a worthy gamble for this book...

...and am I glad I bought it! I absolutely adored this book! It's so witty well-crafted that I enjoyed every word. It had me laughing out loud at some points but at other times it gave a great insight into what to expect as a secondary school teacher in this day and age. Even after revealing tales of misbehaving and despondent kids the book still strikes a chord that makes you want to be in the classroom with Mr Gilbert teaching those children. This book has infact consolidated my desire to teach in Secondary Education after university.

Thanks for a great read Gilbert!
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on 1 October 2014
As a former teacher I started reading this book with low expectations because so much that is written about school life seems far removed from my experience.
This book is different: Gilbert is honest. Although dramatised, it is clear that events similar to those depicted actually happened to him. He is honest about failures and the feelings of dejection which sometimes descend on teachers, particularly early on.
Along with TV programmes like 'Educating Yorkshire/East End etc', books like this help people understand the real challenges of teaching and show how hard many teachers work and how difficult it is for anyone who has not confronted average and below-average classrooms to understand what's happening.
Along with the honesty, Gilbert also manages to tell a gripping yarn.
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on 21 June 2010
This book is decent, and amusing in parts, more so if you work in education. However unlike Chalk, Gilbert never really goes into details, all you seem to know from this book is he teaches lots of Bengali students and he does worksheets with them all the time. Chalk's writing is much more witty and his attention to detail and ability to describe specific incidents within his career makes 'Wasting Your Time...' much more accessible and funny.
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on 30 October 2014
I've just retired from teaching and can read this in a relaxed manner having just had my first teachers pension statement as my reward for 32years at the 'chalk face'. I found it hilarious and a very enjoyable read. Often laughing out loud. So truthful in many ways and honest about how schools could be and how teachers may feel.
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