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School Stories by Jack Sheffield - Teacher Teacher

Updated on August 30, 2017
Please note, this photo of a village school in the North of England that I took is not the school in the book...
Please note, this photo of a village school in the North of England that I took is not the school in the book...

Teacher Teacher - a Village School Story

Hmmm, what do you think of all those books about school? Have you read Teacher Teacher for instance? Everyone loves a good school book! From Tom Brown's Schooldays on, we have enjoyed reminiscing about school. If you enjoy books about school you will love Teacher Teacher. Teacher Teacher is written from a village school master perspective and is fun!

Jack Sheffield's Teacher Teacher is a book that hooks you gently then slowly reels you in! This page tells you all about it. I recently borrowed a copy and I thoroughly enjoyed it so I would like to get the word out about Teacher Teacher because I think you might enjoy it too.

If you like Yorkshire, its dialect, its people, its character, then I think you should read this

If you enjoyed Gervaise Phinns books, then you should read this.

If you attended a village primary school, as I did, then you will enjoy it.

If you would like to know what makes a good teacher or a good school, or simply if you have what it takes to become a teacher, give this book a spin!

If you have taught in Primary or Elementary school - especially in a small community - this book will ring true and evoke your own happy memories and funny stories in its pages.

So, in appreciation of many hours in the grip of its gentle humour, I recommend Teacher, Teacher to you all!


Why Jack Sheffield Appeals

What is it about school stories that draws us all in so irresistibly? It used to be that school children read books about schools where children got up to mischief - sometimes those schools were tough, and sometimes they were "la creme de la creme" - but wasn't it the mischief that drew us? The heroes and heroines who were braver, faster, brighter or naughtier than we ever dared to be? The bullies who were so stupid they always got their come-uppance! The teachers who were stricter, or had strange character faults that made us laugh? Whether it was Grange Hill or St Trinians we loved it.

And with what do we replace it? For those of us who are a little older and remember fondly the kind of uneconomic little schools that LEAs and School Districts close it is that element of nostalgia in the Gervaise Phinn and Jack Sheffield tales. For the youngest among us, the school of choice for delightful stories is now Hogwarts - for doesn't Harry Potter have it all? Magic and monsters and all the delights of those old prep school adventures! What a brilliant recipe for young readers of all ages!

The Alternative School Logbook

A Year in the Life of Ragley-on-the-Forest Primary School

Teacher, Teacher! The Alternative School Logbook, 1977-1978 is a funny, and yet gripping personal account of Jack Sheffield's day to day experiences as Head Teacher of Ragley-on-the-Forest C of E Primary School near York.

The book is written beautifully, is eminently readable and flows really well from start to finish. It is the kind of book that hooks the reader, then reels you in relentlessly to its end. What more can I say? Anyone who was familiar with village schools or Primary schools in the late 1970s would relate to this book.

A Fantastic Read! - Teacher Teacher by Jack Sheffield


Check this book out and read the reviews. It is well worth a look!


Books by Jack Sheffield - Series of books by Jack Sheffield

Teacher Teacher is one in a series of books by Jack Sheffield. Here are some of the others.

Then there is Mister Teacher....

Have you read this one?

It's 1978, and Jack Sheffield chronicles his second year as headmaster of Ragley-on-the-Forest Primary School in North Yorkshire. Three letters arrive on his desk - one makes him smile, one makes him sad and one is from nine-year-old Sebastian in the local hospital who is suffering from leukaemia. He writes a heartbreaking letter addressed to 'Mister Teacher'which eventually changes his life for ever. New characters include Dorothy the coffee shop assistant who wants to be Wonderwoman and the lovely Beth's sister Laura. The alternative logbook chronicles a year in Yorkshire life and the every day running of the school.

Is it the book for you?

Would you enjoy Jack Sheffield or Gervaise Phinn?

If you like books about village life and reminiscences of the past when schools had character and teachers could afford a sense of humour then you will enjoy this book. If you enjoyed Gervaise Phinn you will love it.

It will appeal to anyone who knows and loves Yorkshire life at its most ordinary best and reading it will make you want to see more.

The Village Schoolroom

The Charm of the Village Primary School

I think one reason why I particularly enjoyed this book is that it brought back fond memories of small village schools. I attended many Primary Schools because my father had many postings abroad. One school in Singapore was huge!

The last posting back to England was to a very small village school much like the one in the photo. Classes were mixed, Y1 and 2 in class 1, Y3 and 4 in class 2, and Y5 and 6 in the "Scholarship Class" with the elderly Headmistress.

Activities were old-fashioned but as children we felt very safe and secure. Every day had a routine and the older children were buddies to the younger ones. What it lacked in imagination, it made up for in tradition.

An Extract from the Book....

Stan Coe encounters Elvis in the Gents washroom....

Stan Coe mouthed a silent scream as he stared terrified in to the eyeless sockets of the skeleton's grinning skull.

"Who's that?" said Miss Twigg in amazement.

"It's Elvis," said Sue.

"No, I meant him," said Erica, pointing to a gibbering and very white faced Stan Coe.

Jo Maddisson grinned from ear to ear as I shambled forward to lift the skeleton from the terrified farmer. She turned to the wide eyed Erica Twigg.

"Erica, allow me to introduce you to our Vice-Chairman of Governors, Mr Stanley Coe," said Jo in her best toastmaster voice. Then she added in a stage whisper, "He's got nerves of steel!"

More about Village Headmaster, Jack Sheffield

Jack Sheffield has his own website of course, and in finding that I came across one or two links that could help you get into the character of Teacher Teacher and read the book for yourself.

Jack Sheffield

A brief word about the author

Jack Sheffield was Senior Lecturer in primary education at Bretton Hall, near Wakefield. He was born in Leeds in 1945 and had a working class background.

He worked on building sites as a "pitch boy" (carrying boiling tar up ladders in buckets to mend roofs) before completing teacher training at St John's College in York. He worked in Keighley as a teacher and played rugby for Wharfedale RUFC before becoming a Head Teacher in a rural Yorkshire School....

Character, Dialect and Humour

Jack Sheffield, Heathcliffe and Ruby...

Teacher, Teacher! is wonderful in its portrayal of Yorkshire character and grit and of course dialect, some of it of the colourful variety. Through its pages we meet many intriguing characters and learn to love them all:

Heathcliffe and Terry, the little boys who teach the school to swear, Ruby the larger than life caretaker cleaning happily as she sings Edelweiss, her diminutive husband Ronnie and Genghis Khan the pigeon, Miss Barrington-Huntley and her ill-fated hat, the beautiful advisory teacher Beth Henderson, the pompous and obstructive Vice-Chairman of Governors, Stan Coe, Vera the secretary and organiser, Elvis the skeleton, Sue Phillips, the cheerful nurse, Erica Twigg the student teacher, Ping the Vietnamese refugee who becomes best reader and poet in the school, Deke Ramsbottom, the singing cowboy.... Characters are sketched to be appealing even at their worst, and certainly loveable at best!

If you have read the book, then please let us know what you thought. If you enjoyed the lens and feel you might like to read the book, let us know. Also if you have any other good books of a similar nature please tell us about them!

Please sign our guestbook before you leave the school! ;)

Thank you!

Did You Enjoy Teacher Teacher?

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    • RetroMom profile image


      7 years ago

      I have not read it but what a great lens about important people... Teachers!

    • TeacherSerenia profile image


      8 years ago

      I haven't read any of these books but I must try to find them at the library. Winderful Lens. Thank you for introducing me to a new author. Blessed by an Angel.


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