Personally speaking - 'I saw a teacher whack a kid over the head with a register'

2nd April 2010 at 01:00

Who has been your biggest influence?

Sports journalist Brian Glanville, who wrote a book called Goalkeepers are Different. And I love Roald Dahl.

Why did you give up teaching to become an author?

I wanted to find out if I could actually do this writing thing and make a decent success out of it. I haven't looked back since, although I still go into schools. Sometimes I work as a writer-in-residence for a week, or over a term.

What was your worst moment in teaching?

I once went to a very, very tough secondary school with extremely challenging kids. I think I managed to win about half of them round but there were some kids who didn't want to be in school at all.

Which pupil are you most proud of?

There are too many to mention. Sometimes kids really surprise me.

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Wendy Dixon, a former headteacher, told me to be firm but fair when working with children; to set the boundaries but try to be on their side.

What was the most outrageous thing a colleague ever did?

I once saw someone whack a kid over the head with a register; it was many, many years ago.

What would you be if you hadn't become a teacher?

I would have tried to have been a footballer, but I was never good enough.

What car do you drive?

A teacher's car, a Ford Fiesta.

What was the last book you read?

Happiness by Will Ferguson.

Are you tech savvy or a Luddite?

Somewhere in the middle.

What household appliance can you not live without?

I'm in love with my Dustbuster.

What is the worst homework excuse you've heard?

It got burnt in a cooking accident.

Interview by Anne Joseph

Jonny Zucker is an author of teenage fiction. The first in his Max Flash book series won the Nottingham Mega Reads Award in 2009. He used to be a primary teacher, but gave it up in 2002 to pursue a full-time career in writing. The latest in the series, 'Striker Boy', came out last month.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today