A PIRBRIGHT teaching assistant has written a searing account of life in today’s classroom.

In Must Do Better, Michelle Monan, under the pen name Mrs M, describes a catalogue of rude and misbehaving primary school children, disillusioned teachers, looming Ofsted inspections and staff whose inaction allows problems to flourish.

“It’s an honest and often shocking insight into what goes on behind the school gates, how lots of today’s children speak to staff and treat us,” Michelle, 57, said.

“We are verbally and physically abused, often daily, by very young children, with little or nothing done about it.

“It may explain why there is a teacher crisis. Who would want to work in some of the conditions I have experienced? 

“Teachers and teaching assistants are leaving in droves and very few vacancies are being filled.”

Michelle began teaching in 2016, having run her own nursery schools in Byfleet and Woking for ten years, both rated good to outstanding.

She started working for an education agency which allowed her to visit many different types of school, and in the process witness first-hand many of the incidents which appear in Must Do Better.

The schools, teachers and pupils remain anonymous throughout the book. “Some of the stories are almost unbelievable,” Michelle said. “I’d struggle to believe them if I hadn’t  been there myself.

“I’ve seen the extraordinary transformations that can take place when an Ofsted visit is due, I’ve comforted teachers just out of training reduced to tears by the behaviour of a nine-year-old, and witnessed staff simply past caring.

“But I’ve also known the joy of a little boy come bounding up to me and wrap his arms around my legs as though I was a long-lost friend.

“Teaching can be very rewarding but it can also be incredibly soul destroying.”

And what of the distraught teacher consoled by Michelle? 

“I told her  there were lots of schools that are well managed and enjoyable to work in,” Michelle said. 

“She still handed her notice in at the end of term.

“Working in education has its highs and lows, its enjoyable moments and challenges, and memories that will stay with me forever.

“Please don’t judge me or think I’m being too harsh, I’m just saying it as it is and feel it’s time someone spoke out.”

Must Do Better – Tales of a Teaching Assistant by Michelle Monan is published by Grosvenor House Publishing Ltd and available online from such retailers as Amazon, Waterstones and Foyles, price £7.99.