In the baking heat of February 1973, wearing a purple nylon bodyshirt and an expression of confidence that belied his nerves, Ned Manning faced down a classroom full of kids in Tenterfield in remote NSW. It was the start of many years of teaching, by turns exhilarating, nerve-fraying and inspiring. Packed with stories of students both bored and enthusiastic, lesson plans, staff rooms and drama as studied for the HSC and lived every day, the book roams from high schools in dusty country towns to the edgy Newtown School of Performing Arts in Sydney’s inner-city and a crucible of creativity at EORA Aboriginal College. Through the challenges he inevitably faces, Mr Manning finds the common thread of possibility and hope that runs through his profession. A funny and disarmingly honest memoir of a full life of teaching, Playground Duty has the power to rekindle a spark of glee and optimism about teachers, kids and even schools.
| Mar 2012 | NewSouth