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To Miss with Love

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  145 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
From the whistle-blowing teacher behind the headlines: one inspirational teacher, one extraordinary year, hope and heartbreak on the front lines of an inner-city school, To Miss With Love by Katharine Birbalsingh is the remarkable and eye opening exposé of our education system.

A third of teachers leave within their first term on the job. This one wouldn't quit for all the
Paperback, 304 pages
Published March 3rd 2011 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published March 1st 2011)
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From BBC Radio 4 Extra - Book of the Week:
A third of teachers leave within their first term on the job. This one wouldn't quit for all the world.

Meet Furious - sixteen, handsome and completely out of control. Nothing frightens him and no one can get through to him. Now meet Munchkin - a sweet kid with glasses who's an easy target and needs protecting. Then there's Seething and Deranged, two girls who are brimming with bad attitude; Fifty and Cent, who act like gangsters but are afraid of getting
I agree with a lot of what Birbalsingh says, but one thing creeps me out - the fact that she is single but invents a husband and writes about him in the book as if he was completely real. You wouldn't know he wasn't unless you saw one of the news articles mentioning it. I can understand trying to disguise your marital status while you're trying to remain anonymous (not that she was by the time this was published), but she goes way beyond what's necessary, making up a husband who always calls her ...more
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Petra X
Mar 11, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a not terribly interesting story of a year in the life of a teacher in an inner city school in the UK where the aim is to get the kids to pass with Cs. Not that all the kids are thick, deprived or badly-behaved, just that the black ones (yes, black, this is the UK not America) have a choice - bad behaviour and welcome to the peer group or work hard and accept isolation. The author who is Jamaican, or at least half, by birth or by heritage visits a couple of schools in Jamaica and is shoc ...more
Jan 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
I found this book preachy, sanctimonious and patronising. Having worked in various roles in the education/youth offending sector since I graduated I simply struggled to actually believe many of the characters - allegedly based on reality. It was also put simply, just quite dull. There was the odd thing I could relate to - particularly the pressure that a looming Ofsted inspection brings to the school, but these glimpses of reality were sadly too few and far between for me. I hated her style of w ...more
Sian Wadey
Jun 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
To Miss With Love by Katherine Birbalsingh

Simply put this is one of the worst books I have ever read! I only got forty or so pages in before I stopped. The author uses descriptive terms to distinguish her students so it's impossible to keep track of them all and the way she writes just makes me so annoyed. With every entry I was getting more frustrated with her. Books are supposed to make you wind down!
Oct 10, 2017 rated it liked it
This is another book I had to read for school. I have to admit it read much easier than the previous one. It was in a blog kind of style, every piece about a different day for an entire school year from the teacher's pov. All the names are fake, to hide the identity form every one she writes about. Since it's a true story. In the beginning it was odd, but eventually I got used to it. It did give an intresting insight into an average state school in The UK, but it's just not my genre. I you want ...more
Maire Slater
Apr 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016-04
'Hi, Cent. Great. While we're here, just the two of us, I've been wondering, where is you family from?'
'From Nigeria. Lagos.'
'And how long have you been here?' I can still hear a hint of an accent in his speech.
'Three years innit.;
'All this bad behaviour of yours. I'm guessing you would never have behaved in Nigeria the way you do here, right?'
'No, Miss,' he answers, hanging his head.
'So why is that?'
'It's Africa, Miss. That's how it is there. Yeah? It's like a family. It isn't like here.'
'I don
Mike Steven
Aug 07, 2011 rated it liked it
I liked this in the fact that it's authentic and lots of what the author talks about is true. She's a Head of English like myself so there's clearly going to be some things I can identify with and some of her anecdotes are amusing and remind me of similar occurances in my own schools.

I particularly associate with how her school year starts and finishes with the Headteacher warning them that Ofsted could come at any time - it's common in schools for the focus to be on how to 'be ready for Ofsted'
Louise Armstrong
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! She articulates many of my own feelings about state education. It's so dreadful to fail so many people!

I bet she's a superb teacher. This book was well written. It read really easily, with lots of techniques to make it palatable. It's written in diary form in the present tense, so it feels as if it's happening now. The information and her political/educational ideas are presented wrapped around individual incidents and anecdotes that illustrate what she means. Opposing points of view
Oct 23, 2011 rated it liked it
I am an English teacher (just your bog standard classroom type) and for that reason alone, found it a fascinating read.

Each school is it's very own unique little institutional universe and we teachers get institutionalised by our place of work. I'm working in my 3rd school in nearly 9 yrs of teaching and each has been totally different, so to read about an inner city school and the problems that that entails was fascinating to me. I've worked in an inner city school in the midlands and recognis
Dec 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I am fascinated by the Michaela School of which Birbalsingh is now Head, so was interested to read this account of her earlier career. And anyone who calls themselves Snuffleupagus after the Sesame St character is OK by me. Birbalsingh questions many of the sacred cows of modern UK education and shows how hypocrisy, political dogma and a perverse distortion of 'rights'is damaging young people. Although she fails to point out that many of the elite and powerful in the UK did not earn their places ...more
Mara Shaw
Nov 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Worth a read if you're interested in the current educational crisis in England. This is very much what my daughter is experiencing in the English school system, having just moved here from Canada.

The book is a fictional diary from a real teacher in an inner-city London school. The writing style is breezy, but the conflicts she presents are unfortunately quite real.

As the English tell me, the social system in England is very broken -- and some causes are evident in Ms. Birbalsingh's book. There i
Nov 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humour, factual
It's important to understand that though fictionalised, this isn't a story. It's a polemic against the state of education in England today, disguised as a diary to try and reach an audience that would otherwise not give this subject matter a second glance.

In those terms, it does a pretty good job.
Apr 11, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: april-16
I watch on in amazement. My little Munchkin just helped that woman. No one told him what to do. We try to teach charm and manners at school, but more often than not, we fail miserably. It was as if, by instinct, he just knew what he should do. The other people in the tube look on at the spectacle. 'He's mine,' I want to cry out. 'Munchkin belongs to me.' My heart swells with pride.
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I loved this book which is the life in a year of a teacher in an innet-city school. I got to know the pupils she taught and was an airing with her with anticipation when they opened their idea exam results.
Oliver Kaye
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
A light hearted and amusing description of what is a serious problem with some of our schools. An experienced insiders view.
Philippa Brunt
Jul 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational and well written.
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this eye opening book about life at an inner-city secondary school. I heard it adapted for radio initially and wanted to read the full copy. I wasn't disappointed.
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
given by father in law at christmas, read in a day. Sad to know other people have it worse than me; sometimes wonder how folk cope in difficult schools. Hat taken off to 'miss'.
Jan 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
This took me back to the schools I taught at. Very realistic depiction of inner city schools in London. Too bad she lost her job over this book because it's a wake up call.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was ok
I've read this and to sir with love, but I liked the latter one beter. To miss with love was not bad but also not great, it is one of those books that didn't really leave an impact on me.
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Authentic, engaging and light-hearted, and yet surfaces the many issues in the British education system, as well as the life of teachers.

Awesome read!
Feb 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: easy-read
Absolutely amazing - inspirational. All teachers should read this book!
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Paras Ghelani
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Berty Van Hensbergen
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Feb 06, 2018
Paul Rozs
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