Tales from the Chalkface is an enjoyable and anecdotal look at teaching that also provides a serious insight into teaching practices.
This book is a small slice of teaching past written by Vernon Cutler, whose teaching career spanned 20 years. Vernon worked in primary schools from the late 1960s to the 1980s, and his book is an anecdotal look at teaching told from the inside. Tales from the Chalkface records the highs and lows of his time spent in education – from the highs of initial training and promotion, to the lows of workplace bullying and feeling overwhelmed when teaching his first class.
Vernon’s writing rejoices in day-to-day encounters with the delightful, unsophisticated humour of children, as well as the humbling trust and unpredictable emotional and physical needs young children bring. He also finds himself wondering how a secondary trained teacher finds himself in charge of the reception class! Vernon learns first hand the truth of Shaw’s oft quoted assertion that ‘he who can does, he who cannot teaches,’ as he finds himself teaching swimming while unable to swim, and being in charge of the school football team, while not knowing the difference between off side and off the pitch!
Throughout Tales from the Chalkface, Vernon enjoys the spontaneous humour of the children he teaches, and relishes in the trust parents and pupils alike place in him.