Friday, October 11, 2013

Welcome to the Jungle

Ruta by Kit Masters

Disclaimer: I received this book from the author in exchange for a review. 

Summary: "Ruta is growing up in a failing school and a failing society. "There is nothing I can do to help her." A decade after the London riots, a reprobate teacher records the anger and vitriol of the new generation. He fixates on the innocence of a perfect female student from his past. Unearth his conscience as he fights for breath in the turmoil of his decline.
Ruta is an allegorical novella about poor British schools. It traces an all too common pattern in schools; an enthusiastic young teacher’s decline into nervosa as war breaks out in the classroom.

Review: A tale of a teacher who finds himself helpless in the face of increasing numbers of feral children and the guilt he feels.

Being American, I am not very familiar with the British school system. I guess I knew at some level that there must be bad areas with underfunded schools like the cities of Camden, Trenton, and Newark in New Jersey. Since I seem to think of the UK as some magical place I can’t wait to visit, I decided to some research on the idea of feral children in British schools. I found an article from 2011 discussing feral children. It turns out that many children have trouble academically and more than a thousand children are suspended every school day for abuse and assault. So there’s a problem.

And the teacher certainly recognizes it as such. He starts teaching at the school and is full of hope and optimism. He enjoys the group of students he is working with. It very quickly seems to go all downhill. The kids (at least the immigrants) seem to live in a bad area of London and so are surrounded by violence. Chaos has erupted in the school. While I felt sympathy for the teacher, I couldn’t understand why he felt so personally responsible for the chaos and feral children.


Recommendation: I would recommend this book to people who are teachers or anyone interested in education and the state of children.

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