Thursday, 9 June 2011

Would love to know what teachers (and others) think....

I've just had a review on the Armadillo website of my young teens' novel, Coping with Chloe.

It's a lovely review and I'm not complaining. See

But the reviewer makes a very worrying comment about teachers. I've already discussed this with a young relative of mine who is a teaching assistant. She was surprised, and said she would hope to be this kind of teacher (the Miss Tough kind), one day. The kind, that is, who gets on her students' wavelength and cares about them enough to give them appropriate and kindly support, as Miss Tough did in the book.

What happens in Coping with Chloe is that Anna, aged 12, believes her twin is still alive and living inside her head. But no one believes her - the rest of the world thinks Chloe died in an accident months ago. Miss Tough appears to take Anna at her word and becomes the only grown-up who 'understands' - while at the same time keeping a firm grip on reality and alerting Anna's parents and the like. I.e. she does all the sensible things but shows an imaginative response to Anna's predicament, too.

Now I was half expecting objections that perhaps Miss Tough went too far in pretending to go along with Anna's delusions. Perhaps she did - I can't quite make up my mind. In the book, Miss Tough's intervention helped, but maybe in real life it wouldn't have.

But the reviewer's point was a different one. She said that, sadly, teachers nowadays would not respond the way Miss Tough did because of the way they are trained, and that however naturally compassionate a teacher was, it 'strains credulity' that any teacher could understand Anna in the way my fictional teacher did.

If you're a teacher, a parent, or otherwise interested - I'd love to know what you think.


Shirley said...

'It seems to strain credulity that any teacher produced by the training methods currently in use, however kind and compassionate by nature, could be quite as comprehending as Tough is. '

Miss Tough was one of my favourite characters and I certainly don't agree with that statement. I am a primary school teacher and have lots of friends who are and we like to think that we are this kind and compassionate when we need to be.

Rosalie Warren said...

Thanks, Shirley. Your words have cheered me up no end.

Patsy said...

If the training teachers have stops them understanding their pupils, then there's something very wrong with that training.

Rosalie Warren said...

Absolutely. Perhaps that was the point the reviewer was trying to make, but she came across as very cynical.