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Teaching Novels

Writing as Daniel Ken

 

Bog Standard

A single father. No love life. And the teaching job from hell… Daniel Ken hated school, and school hated him. He left at 16 for a succession of dead-end jobs punctuated by bouts of unemployment where he’d inhabit the local library and read his way through every classic novel he could get his hands on. Motivated to reclaim his education he took short courses, a degree in English, then a Masters and then did what he swore he’d never do he returned to the classroom. To start with, things went well. But then his wife left him for his boss, and Daniel ended up bringing up his seven-year-old son, Joe, on his own, and swapping his cushy grammar school job for the teaching position no-one else would take the bottom class at the bottom ‘bog standard’ comprehensive in the area. But in a classroom full of ASBOs and ADD, Daniel found himself facing the sort of students he once was himself, and learning as much from them as they were from him. And in the library, where he once learnt to love books, he’s about to fall in love all over again…

 


 

Must Try Harder

Eight years after the events described in his previous book, Bog Standard, the old Technology College has been demolished and in its place is the brand new £150million William Edward Arnott Learning Village, complete with primary-colored open-plan learning areas, glossy wall-photographs of radiant children and an ‘integrated e-learning package’. Problem is, while the name may have changed, and the walls are now made of plasterboard rather than asbestos, the students are still as crazy as ever, the paperwork, exam-scams and Ofsted-obsessions have multiplied on a geometric scale, the Wunderkind Deputy Head has introduced a whole new teaching system, and the school is now run by a new generation of Stepford teachers.And if teaching is becoming ever-more arcane and confusing, his cosy work-life balance is threatened by wife Merlene’s not-unreasonable demands that they start a family. Daniel Ken, former blogger and committed classroom teacher finds that, if he is even to survive in this brand new teaching arena, he Must Try Harder.