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Starting to Teach in the Secondary School

STARTING TO TEACH IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL: second edition. By Susan Capel, Ruth Leilbronn, Marilyn Leask and Tony Turner. RoutledgeFalmer pound;18.99

In their introduction, the authors of this guide for newly qualified teachers say that "a sense of humour is essential". You'll also need a healthy bank balance if you're to buy all the books of advice and guidance that are available. This one is written by 20 academics from university education departments. It starts with "Being a teacher", a section that looks at the expectations of the job, suggestions for managing your workload and guidance on teamwork. It is followed by sections on establishing your teaching role, consolidating it, and moving on: a kind of cradle-to-grave cycle.

What you get from this broad academic perspective is an authentic picture of school life, much of it supported by research evidence. The bibliography runs to more than 15 pages. The style is often descriptive - showing us what schools can be like - rather than filled with advice. The overall strength of the book is the ambitious range of topics, which even includes a couple of paragraphs on "confronting technophobia". However, new teachers might wish there was rather more practical guidance.

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