Canadian comic Gerry Dee is having quite the year. His stand-up specials are huge hits (my husband I saw Life After Teaching live and the man had us in tears through the whole thing), his television show, Mr. D, is a funny success and he travels the country interviewing athletes as Gerry Dee, Sports Reporter for sports station The Score. But before his comedy success he spent ten years as a teacher in Toronto and, as he argues, not always a good one. Those ten years are the subject of his new book Teaching: It's Harder Than It Looks, a hilarious collection of anecdotes about teaching, students and parents.
As the child of teachers I occasionally heard some of the "inside stories" from the staff room growing up. And as the wife of a teacher, I hear them all the time. You wouldn't think it, but schools are comedy gold, especially when you have teachers like Gerry Dee. He started out as someone who fell into teaching (after failing to get into medical school and law school) but knew that he was going to be the teacher who changes every students lives. He quickly learned that wouldn't be the case.
The book covers his days as a substitute teacher (arguably the hardest job of all), being a gym teacher who has to teach subjects he knows nothing about, bullying, losing final exams, cheating, showing up for work hungover and many, many others. He includes hilarious teacher tips and tricks like "Always let the kids you like the least take the attendance to the office. It gives you a few minutes away from him." He addresses parents on why they need to start paying more attention to their kids and why they shouldn't consider their kids to be angels. He lets students know that their not as smart as they think and that teachers know every trick in the book, often playing tricks of their own on students.
Part memoir, part hilarious insights into the minds of teachers, this is a fantastic book. I read it one afternoon and spent most of the time stopping to read parts aloud to my husband (poor guy was planning to read it himself but I ended up reading most of it to him!). But you don't have to be a teacher or know many teachers to find this book hilarious. If you are the parent of a child in school, or were once a student, there is something in this book for you and you are going to find it just as funny as the teachers do. This book is for everyone and will have everyone in stitches. It will take you back to your school days, remind you of those fantastic (and not-so-fantastic) teachers you had and even offer a glimpse into how hard teachers really do work (turns out they don't get to leave work when the bell rings at 3pm!)
If you're a fan of Gerry's you'll be reading this book already, but if you're not familiar with him, you should definitely check this book out. What I like most about his comedy is that the subject matter is something everyone will find funny. We can all relate to his jokes, we've all been in the school setting. If you're looking for a good laugh, then this book is highly recommended.
I received this book courtesy of Random House of Canada. The opinions expressed above are purely my own.