“A teacher, eh?” the man in the tuxedo guffaws.
His wife smiles conspiratorially: “No wonder he looks so tired.”
As the camera zooms in on Mark Grist, he acknowledges that he is pretty tired: “Exams get me stressed; giving detentions can be draining. And who’d have thought it’d be so tiring making lessons entertaining?”
But, over the course of a new, three-minute film, A Teacher, Eh?, Mr Grist turns this assumption around. Yes, he says, working with teenagers tires him out. But this is largely because he is “scrabbling at those locks, dredging back those pearls”, and because he stays up all night, mulling over the questions his pupils ask about the world they are growing up in.
Mark Grist is best known as the English teacher who vanquished teenage rapper Blizzard in a rap battle that became a YouTube viral hit, but his career has also included a stint as poet laureate of Peterborough. In that role, he was regularly invited to formal dinners and town-hall events. “A lot of these people were very scathing of teenagers,” he told TES.
“Teaching is a tiring and stressful job. But I don’t think that’s to do with the students. They’re one of the good things.”
This is echoed by 15-year-old James John, who, along with classmates at Haverstock School in north London, played Mr Grist’s class in the film. “Older people always see young people as troublemakers – criminals, even,” he said. “But I think we do care about things as much as anyone else. This is our world, as much as anyone else’s.”
Read the full article in the 16 January edition of TES on your tablet or phone or by downloading the TES Reader app for Android or iOS. Or pick it up at all good newsagents.
Up in northern lights - 17 August 2012