Kate Clanchy has taught in state schools for nearly thirty years. Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me is an extraordinary memoir, detailing a life’s work spent teaching in a national institution. This book is made up of stories; stories of the children she’s taught, some of the teachers she’s worked with and some of the lessons she’s learned along the way.
Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me paints a vivid picture of school life and provides a no-frills look at the role education plays in today’s society. This is not a pessimistic sociological study or political lament. Clanchy doesn’t shy away from addressing some of the difficult situations found in many schools – what she does do, beautifully – is bring out the diversity, humour and intelligence in her students. This book celebrates the incredible influence a teacher can have and the positive power of a good education. Clanchy writes with passion about the success she’s seen and encouraged in the most challenging scenarios – and she writes of the effect this has had on her, as a teacher, mother and member of society.
Decades in the classroom combined with her fearless wit, ear for poetry and talent for writing about the most difficult situations make Clanchy’s stories a joy to read. Some Kids I Taught and What They Taught Me is a relevant, uplifting, agenda-setting book. Some stories are happy, some stories are sad, but they are all warm and sympathetic – and written with love.