My book review of 'Let That Be A Lesson' by Ryan Wilson
Let That Be A Lesson
There seem to have been a number of memoirs from teachers in the past couple of years, which have attracted varying degrees of publicity. I stumbled across this one and I'm so glad I did.
It's a perfect mix of humour, poigancy, angst, frustration and inspiration, presented as a series of episodes rather than a strict chronological account. And it had me laughing out loud.
There are classroom mishaps and misunderstandings, high jinx in the staffroom, wise-cracking pupils, and various examples of how teachers can never really switch off - sitting bolt upright in bed in the middle of the night as if to discipine a class, then immediately falling back into a deep sleep, or assertively telling pupils how to queue outside a theatre and inadvertently rounding up random members of the public in the process.
It's hilarious. I've gone back to some of the stories a few times now, because I found them so entertaining but this book is also another reminder of how many talented, gifted, committed individuals we are losing due to the unrealistic expectations that are placed upon them.
The author, Ryan Wilson had always wanted to be a teacher, even playing at class (where he was in charge) while he was still at primary school.
Sadly the bureaucracy, ever-changing fashions of best practice, lack of resources and the political point-scoring eventually wore him down and this book is his parting gift as he moves on to another career in journalism.
As he describes his own route from first training as a teacher, to being appointed a department head, he shows us the multitude of qualities needed to lead young people through the education system, and he highlights the outstanding individuals he's met who have been called to this profession. It really is inspiring and uplifting, rather sad occasionally, but with lots of incidents which will make you laugh. I hope you'll take a look.