Originally posted 1st April 2016

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world” – Nelson Mandela

Nearly three years ago I read a book called ‘It’s Your Time You’re Wasting’ and it seems I wrote down my thoughts. With nowhere else to put it, the document stayed buried in my computer, until now.

Title: It’s Your Time You’re Wasting 

Author: Frank Chalk

Rating (1-5): 4/5

Written:     8th November 2013
Published: 1st April 2016

‘Frank Chalk’ – A supply teacher who has published a detailed account of the average day working in the education sector.

This was a very interesting read and I found that when I had to stop reading, for one reason or another, I was always eager to return and learn more about the students of ‘St Judes’ and their teachers.

I found myself agreeing and disagreeing with Chalk on a number of occasions. One main point I agree is that the children who disrupt classes are paid more attention than those who just want to work. Is this fair? No. But it’s the way schools operate. The students who seek attention get that, and so much more.

If these students were excluded, this would only give them a few days holiday as opposed to the punishment it should be. Expulsion is good in theory however, the schools lose money so they are often unwilling to go through with this. Isolation may be a good deterrent however, having never been in isolation myself, I can’t judge.

The problem with students these days is they don’t care. They are forced to go to school however and they don’t understand what a privilege this is. There was a time only Monks could read and write. Not too long ago girls weren’t allowed to go to school and learn basic skills, which we now take for granted. Children around the world do not have the resources or funding we do for schools like ours, and yet with the amount of teenagers who abbreviate their writing into ‘text speech’ (or just can’t spell) is incredible. I remember, as a young teenager, I would text or message my friends online in this speech however, this did not translate into my schoolwork whatsoever. 

I’m 20 years old and I feel very old fashioned saying these things, though I have not long moved on from education. Reading this book has honestly made me even more grateful for the parents I have, who always took an interest in my schooling and work. My teachers who built my confidence and my friends who are some of the brightest, most intelligent, people I know. Even the schools I attended, because according to this book, it could have been a lot worse.

I feel sorry for those children whose parents aren’t taking an interest in their lives (unless it leads to confrontation, as shown in this book), their teachers who don’t recognise their position of authority, and their school who show they apparently don’t care by allowing the place to be littered and defaced and by allowing the chaos within the walls to continue.

Amazon had this book listed under ‘humour’, so you could argue I’m rather disappointed (though there were humorous anecdotes, nothing ‘laugh out loud’ worthy though) however, this book has made me think back to my time in education and made me reconsider how awful the ‘bad’ pupils really were in school. 

I have decided to rate this book 4/5 as, while it did make me think, the views expressed by Chalk were very biased. I found his opinions very interesting and, while I agreed on some accounts, I also disagreed with him on occasion. For example, I understand that it would be better for students to be grouped in lessons based on how advanced their knowledge is of the subject however, as I myself was in foundation classes throughout most of my school years I do not agree that they have no academic potential whatsoever. 

To conclude, though I am reading this in 2013, I find this applies to schools today as it did when the book was first released. If you do choose to read this book, you do need to remind yourself that yes, there are bad schools out there however, his experiences do not apply to all schools in the UK. Some may view him as a cynic. Personally, I view him as a man who wants to show people how unruly things can be without proper guidance and authority. If that was his purpose for publishing this, then mission accomplished.

I remember reading this book back in 2013 and I remember talking about it with friends and family, his points and my views on those. It was a very interesting read and I would definitely recommend.

There will be points you both agree and disagree with however, it’s very engaging and one of those books you have to read until the end, at least it was for me.

If you have read this book, or you have some insight into schools as they are today, would love to hear your opinions and learn something new from each other. After all, even once we’ve left school, we never stop learning.

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