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  • By Giles Jackson
    Jul 5, 2012
    'School is Pretty Bad' is an odd title for a book which shows schools as anything but bad - places full of human warmth, humour, eccentricity and excitement. Jill Howard-Jones writes briefly about her own school days, first in America and then, after risking German U-boat attack during an Atlantic crossing, in Wales and North London. For the rest, Howard-Jones recalls her own teaching experiences in a dozen-or-so widely varying schools, culminating at the Cathedral School in Hereford where she taught for over twenty years. Throughout this Odyssey we get to know an engaging writer and the sometimes bizarre world in which she worked. During the early years the narrative interweaves family events (the writer's marriage to Ray, and the birth of their two sons) with details of university at King's College London, and early professional experiences. Of particular interest here is the historical glimpse we are given of an amazing diversity in the education set-up in England after the war.... More > Howard-Jones takes us through these years with the same slightly amused conversational style that one senses relaxed and encouraged her classes. No 'Blackboard Jungle' here. It is when she comes to the Cathedral School that the writing achieves an enthusiasm that for the reader becomes infectious. Teaching History has all the resources that the treasures and past story of the Cathedral can offer. Teaching English can be reinforced by visits to Stratford, to Elizabeth Barrett-Browning's Colwall and to Tintern Abbey. There are trips to the major art galleries in Europe with the Art Department, trips as Acting Third Officer in the school's CCF including one on a nuclear submarine at Faslane, and a trip to Cardiff to watch an ex-Hereford rugby player represent his country. The earlier sense of humour plays over this latter section also: a visiting speaker whom the writer thought would be the local Bobby turned out to be the Chief Police Superintendant himself, coming in tribute to his erstwhile teacher. The book is liberally illustrated, many of the reproductions of pictures painted by the author, herself a talented artist. This is a book that would encourage and inspire any hesitant recruit to the profession. It is a delightful read, and thoroughly recommended.< Less
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Product Details

First Edition
Jill Howard-Jones
February 18, 2012
Perfect-bound Paperback
Interior Ink
Black & white
0.37 lbs.
Dimensions (inches)
6 wide x 9 tall
Product ID
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