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So What! Stories or Whatever!

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  33 ratings  ·  26 reviews
STORIES FROM THE CLASSROOM! HOW DO THEY SURVIVE? WHETHER STUDENT, TEACHER OR PARENT THEY WILL HAVE YOU LAUGHING OR CRYING! Waterloo Road or Grange Hill meet Gervase Phinn - well maybe! Whether you love this book or hate it you will have to admit that the stories about its characters will stay in your memory for a long time. With over twenty years teaching experience behind ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 4th 2013 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
Although personally I found high school a little more insidious than the stories in this book might suggest, the author did a really good job at taking me back to my days as a student at a UK comprehensive. It was interesting seeing things from a teacher's perspective - I can certainly relate to how mouthy and ill-disciplined students are these days, and I should imagine they've only gotten worse since I left in 2000.

The light and loose writing style helps the book zip along at a fair old pace,
Florian Armas
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Griffiths’s writing style is fluid and readable, expressing the ‘story’ in a series of vignettes of (I suppose) his lifetime experience as a teacher, sometimes emotionally, but most of times filled with a lot of humor. It is written in an easy, comfortable style, much like having a conversation that absorbs all your attention and you really need a lot of attention to survive the avalanche of children that come and go, and come and go with each year and chapter. And, be sure, this is not a typica ...more
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A revealing and honest insight into the life of a teacher, a profession I already had a lot of respect for. This book is more like a collection of stories, generally filled with warm humour although there are some serious bits. I knew I wasn’t teacher material and reading this just affirmed it, although it made the story no less appealing.

There is a good fluidity to the author’s writing style which makes this very engaging and easy to read. Plus, I was – pleasantly – surprised at being transpor
A.E. Albert
Dec 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The story begins in a high school in Britain and chronicles the career of a teacher, Mr. Jeffrey. Mr. Jeffrey learns very quickly that if you want order in the classroom, a teacher must be strict. Yet, in the process he develops meaningful relationships with many of these children. The reader joins Mr. Jeffrey through the adventures and misadventures of his students. Sometimes you laugh others times find a tear in your eye.

Most characters are fleeting and only Mr. Jeffrey is a constant throughou
Hock Tjoa
Oct 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Despite the title, I decided to read this as a story. It is about a science teacher and the schools and students. It is also about students that might be "difficult to control" and a teacher who likes to be known for "firm class control" and "strong behavior management." The teacher, one Robert Jeffrey, begins his career by applying to three "difficult" schools in "socially deprived areas" in the hope of doing good socially and raising aspirations for a career in Science in some of his students. ...more
Nov 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! A look into the life of a teacher. Gotta give teachers credit for their patience because I sure would not be able to do it. I laughed so hard I was actually crying during part of the book. It was {‘Please, sir, what are those animals called with eight testicles?’

‘And it can grip things with its testicles. It can squeeze you to death with them!} Oh my goodness however does a teacher keep a straight face even though its a serious question from a student?

Some of the book was qui
K.S. Marsden
May 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
Slow to start, but the second half runs smoother. I can see this appealing to those that want to relive their teaching days.

(view spoiler)
Sean DeLauder
Feb 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A vignette of teaching experiences chronicling the development and experiences of science teacher Robert Jeffrey. While the perspective changes now and again to a separate teacher to fill in gaps or provide an alternate viewpoint, all roads lead back to Mr. Jeffrey.

The cast in these stories is considerable, as it must be in order to paint a complete picture of a classroom, as well as the experiences of a teacher, over time--students, staff, experiences inside and outside a classroom that define
Dec 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
In Between Classes – A review of the novel ‘So What! Stories or Whatever!’

“I am indebted to my father for living, but to my teacher for living well” – Alexander the Great

Any kid growing up spends the longest hours of his young life outside his own home in a school. So it’s no wonder schools are often referred to as second homes and teachers as sort of parental figures. And even though we experience a lot of rich emotions in our homes, nothing compares to the unique and special bond we make with
M. Wiggins
Sep 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Aliens and jesters. An ox eyeball, octopus testicles, and Bunsen burners. Cigarettes and, if you know who to contact, a spliff (*WTH is a ‘spliff’? … google search … Oh, okay, spliff = joint; aka: wacky-tobacky*). So, where would one find these elements coexisting in one place? In high school of course! And, sadly, you’ll find politics as well. Yes, even in education there exists politics and its closest kin and allies: funding, cronyism, and hierarchy.

Teachers like main character Robert Jeffrey
Allie Cresswell
This collection of three books uses some cross-fertilisation of character and setting but each would stand alone quite comfortably and, arguably, more successfully.
The first book reads more like a memoire than a novel. A series of incidents, situations and character outlines form a teacher’s purportedly imaginary recollection of his teaching experiences. Some of the events were clearly amusing that the time, but their narration came across as rather laboured and more than once I found myself wit
D.C. Wolf
Dec 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: other
Like a song that touches your heart, or brings back fond memories, G.J. Griffiths’ So What! Stories or Whatever! had that effect on me. Reading almost like a diary, I was immediately immersed and fell asleep many a night without being able to put it down.

So What! Stories or Whatever! read like a three-act play with a “birth to death” theme:

1 - Early years, innocence and learning
2 – Reality and change
3 – Rebirth

It was a celebration of life and compassion for ones work through the lens of a scien
Gita Reddy
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: r4r
Mr. Jeffrey is looking back at the years he spent as a teacher. He chose a career in teaching, and opted for schools in socially backward areas, because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of those children, and also learn from the challenges in a tough school. In the beginning he is not able to assert authority over the students but tips from a senior colleague help.

The book is a series of anecdotes through which G.J. Griffiths unfolds the stories of some of his students, and his own. T
J.C. Wing
Dec 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Griffiths writes with a light hearted style that is not only easy to read but uniquely entertaining. This collection of stories is about students, their parents and the instructor who teaches them, and there is something here for everyone.

I am a long time homeschooler so this book was especially intriguing to me. I grew up taking part in a traditional education and much of this book made me nod my head in both recollection and understanding as a previous student. I also enjoyed this collection
Anna Fantabulous
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best in the ‘So What!’ series. Robert Jeffrey joins the teaching profession on a ‘try-it-out-for-a-year’ whim against the wishes of his father who feels he can do better, being good in science and all. Jeffrey is accepted as a Science Teacher at Walnut Grove High School where he finds purpose, passion and skill. Next he joins Birch Green High School and this is where the crux of the book, drama and thrills occur. Caught between a set of ‘ruddy’ and ‘lippy’ kids and his knack for disciplining ...more
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
So What! Stories or Whatever! introduces Mr. Robert Jeffery, science teacher, to the world.

Our hero could have easily been forgotten or ignored in the humdrum of school days. However, Robert Jeffery had a different idea: he planned to make a difference.

Mr. Jeffery entered his first teaching assignment as a naïve, socially inept, young man searching to find a path to teaching excellence. In mid career, due to a twist of fate, the seasoned teacher discovered he had met his goal in so many ways. It
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
These stories so reminded me of my years in the school system! They are the timeless classics of typical school life from the perspective of the staff and, just occasionally, the children. How did our teachers survive the madness that is educating people aged 11 to 16 ? Surely we were never this horrid?? The pages will keep you laughing and crying throughout the book as we take the daily school life of a particular set of children during their senior school years from their form tutors eyes and ...more
Princila Murrell
Mar 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
I liked this story, but I wanted more plot. The beginning was a little hard for me to get in, but things got more interesting after the first four chapters.

The book is well-written and humorous. The writing was clear and easy to read and the dialogue was realistic. There were times when I laughed out loud at the stories that students told to avoid getting into trouble--very typical of kids this age. I cared about the main character, Robert Jeffrey. He was very likable, and I felt like cheering
C. Erani Kole
Jun 13, 2014 rated it liked it
It's 4 Stars on Amazon, but it's three here because "I liked it". I'm not strictly fantasy, but even this was a little hard for me to get into before things got interesting.

It personally took me a long time to read it because it's stories about a teacher and the students in his life. After the third chapter, my interest was piqued, and I even found myself disagreeing/cheering with Mr. J's actions and decisions. It's a story that will make you appreciate your teacher and think twice about the stu

I quite enjoyed this book, which is more a collection of vignettes about a dedicated but occasionally feckless secondary Science teacher ( later a college tutor). Robert Jeffrey is of course imperfect, but he is diligent, and devoted to developing potential scientists or engineers. Like most teachers, he has a variety of students, from the quiet intellectuals, to the bullies and future delinquents. It's pretty certain, that Mr. Jeffrey, successes and flaws, is not easily forgotten.

Author G. J.
Dean Johnston
Oct 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is an engaging and amusing look at life inside the walls of a high school. While the stories themselves are particular to the characters involved, each of whom has their own quirks, traits and amusing foibles, everyone is sure to recognized similarities to people they know, have known, or possibly who still live in their house. I think these stories will resonate particularly well with teachers and parents, those who will be most familiar with the odd, and often maddening, traits of today's ...more
Nov 21, 2014 rated it liked it
This is my second shot a posting this review. The first apparently has vaporized. I found myself in quite a dilemma trying to analyze this book. Portions are charming description of life at a British school, something teachers everywhere would love to read. Other sections are less coherent. While there are many young characters their plot line gets lost in the interactions of the faculty. Part of my problem is this book was labeled as Young Adult, which I believe does the book a disservice. Prop ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Being married to a former high school science teacher, it's like reading about my husband's own teaching career.
The book is well-written and humorous. You can tell the author has experience working in a classroom, which gives his story a realness about it; very authentic.
Sara Freitag
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved loved this book! I laughed out loud many times. Teachers rock! I didn't want to put it down. After a long hard day, I could pick this up and know that I was going to smile and even laugh! Great job!!!! ...more
Greg Chandler
Jun 26, 2017 rated it liked it
This collection of anecdotes from the classroom isn't one of the "inspiring" stories that give purpose to teaching and encourage young scholars to see the profession as a "way to make a difference".

The teacher in the story learns to manage discipline, but makes his share of mistakes as well. When students pass a note that threatens a girl with rape, he throws the note out instead of involving the administration. When a particularly obnoxious student pushes him over a cafe table, he punches the
Sal Noel
Nov 23, 2016 rated it did not like it
This book was unbearable. I'll admit to not finishing it. Started poorly- I skip- read on. No improvement. I have taught in all sorts of British schools and this book gave me no joy what-so-ever. In all seriousness, I'd say there was a student in that school who would have done a better job at writing. No depth. No style. Dull ...more
Jennifer Beahler
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G J Griffiths is a retired science teacher with some early working experience of the photographic industry. Born in the UK he enjoys reading most genres of fiction such as sci-fi, crime/detective thrillers, historical and wildlife stories. Non-fiction reading mainly includes scientific or historical books. Walking in the English, Scottish or Welsh countryside with binoculars ready for bird-watchin ...more

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