I’m a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here!

3 March 2004

I'm a Teacher, Get Me Out of HereThe book that tells you the unvarnished truth about teaching

By turns hilarious, sobering and downright horrifying, I’m a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here! contains the sort of information you won’t find in any school prospectus, government advert or Hollywood film. In this astonishing memoir, Francis Gilbert candidly describes the remarkable way in which he was trained to be a teacher, his terrifying first lesson and his even more frightening experiences in his first job at Truss comprehensive, one of the worst schools in the country. Follow Gilbert on his rollercoaster journey through the world that is the English education system; encounter thuggish and charming children, bad and brilliant teachers; learn about the sinsiter effects of school inspectors and the teacher’s disease of “controloholism”… spy on what really goes on behind the closed doors of inner-city schools.


“This is a frank and vivid account of a young teacher coming to terms with the horrors of real life in a real inner-city school. It brought back my own training and probationary year (thirty years ago now) with a hair-raising immediacy. Clearly Francis Gilbert is a gifted and charismatic teacher, and his pupils are lucky that these gifts are combined with a modest patience and sympathy. He also has a talent for swift and lively description. Schools like the one he describes, a system like this, lives like those of these pupils, need to be transformed, and the only lasting way to transform them is to put the best people we have into them – and the same level of resources that’s enjoyed by the pupils of Eton, Winchester, Harrow, Westminster, and so on. But while people like Mr Gilbert are coming into education, there is no need for despair quite yet.” Philip Pullman

“This is a funny, moving and worrying memoir. It follows Francis Gilbert’s experiences as he goes through teacher training and takes up his first job at an inner-city comprehensive. The story is one of disorder, low achievement, and disillusioned and burnt-out teachers, mixed with flashes of affection for the children and commit­ment from some of the teachers…I’m a Teacher, Get Me Out of Here is funny and poignant, but is also a cry of pain. It should be compulsory reading for successive secretaries of state and all senior staff at the DfES.” Clare Short, New Statesman

A fantastic book, a cheeringly horrifying and right on the nail description of the sheer terror of being deep-ended into teaching – Gilbert writes so well that you half-suspect he could give up the day job.” Independent

Francis Gilbert’s book reminded me strongly of the 1955 classic Roaring Boys…We feel what Francis Gilbert feels: the pressure of the job and the commitment to demanding classes. The word has recently become debased, but when an older colleague tells him ‘You care, Francis’ it is well earned.” Jonathan Smith (Author of The Learning Game), Sunday Telegraph Review, April 2004

Gilbert is a natural story-teller. I read this in one jaw-dropping gulp.” Tim Brighouse, Commissioner for London Schools, TES

“I liked this humane, funny, sharply observed book. Francis Gilbert started with the idealistic wish to make a real difference… He is a born teacher and a good writer. He has an eye for detail and the telling phrase, writes a great deal of good sense and is in love with literature and with words. There would be nothing much wrong with our schools if every teacher was like him. But the social problems are harder to solve.” Eric Anderson, Spectator


  1. I love this book, and I’m a teen!

    from Sidney Farrah
  2. […] Gilbert currently teaches part time and has published a book called I’m a teacher, get me out of here. He runs a website which celebrates the achievement of local schools. He starts by saying […]

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