21 October 2021, The Tablet

Speed reading: Carina Murphy goes back to school


There can’t be many with school-age children who, after pandemic home-schooling, haven’t asked “how do teachers do it?”. Three books allow us to peek into this newly appreciated profession. 

Ryan Wilson’s Let That be a Lesson: A Teacher’s Life in the Classroom (Chatto & Windus, £14.99; Tablet price £13.49), written in anecdotes, is joyful, funny and revealing. His “fairly religious” Northern Irish upbringing means he’s “used to living with the guilt that I will never be good enough” as he navigates GCSE results, pranks and scrapes, teacher friendships and personal heartache. Sadly, when “the moments of real joy” decreased thanks to budget cuts, politicians and Ofsted (“the pantomime baddie of the educational world”), he retrained as a broadcaster.

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