The life of a teacher.
Who is Jack Sheffield?
British author (born Jack Linley), Jack Sheffield is writing a series of novels about…”Jack Sheffield,” the headmaster of a school in a fictional Yorkshire village. The stories inspired by his own experiences are set from the late 1970s to the early 1980s and attempt to portray life in Yorkshire as it was at that time.
He also takes us back in 1952 to talk about Lily, in Ragley (another Yorkshire village), as she began her first year as a teacher at the village school.
Jack Sheffield Books in Order:
- Teacher, Teacher! – It’s 1977 and Jack Sheffield is appointed headmaster of a small village primary school in North Yorkshire. So begins Jack’s eventful journey through the school year and his attempts to overcome the many problems that face him as a young and inexperienced headmaster.
- Mister Teacher – It’s 1978, and Jack Sheffield begins his second year as headmaster of a small village primary school in North Yorkshire. There are three letters on his desk – one makes him smile, one makes him sad and one is destined to change his life forever. This is from nine-year-old Sebastian, suffering from leukaemia in the local hospital, who writes a heartbreaking letter addressed to ‘Mister Teacher’. Jack tries to help, and so begins a journey through the seasons of Yorkshire life in which the school is the natural centre of the community.
- Dear Teacher – It’s 1979: Dallas is enthralling the nation on TV, Mrs Thatcher has just become prime minister, Abba is top of the pops, and in the small Yorkshire village of Ragley-on-the-Forest, Jack Sheffield returns for his third year as headmaster of the village school. Jack and his staff struggle to keep a semblance of normality throughout the turbulence of the school terms, as once again the official School Log fails to record what is really going on beneath the seemingly quiet routine.
- Village Teacher – It’s 1980: recession and unemployment have hit Britain, a royal wedding is on the way, and the whole country is wondering Who Shot JR? As Jack returns for his fourth year at Ragley-on-the Forest School, there’s a definite chill in the air. Village schools are being closed down all over the place – will his be one of them?
- Please Sir! – It’s 1981, the time of Adam and the Ants, Rubik’s Cube, the Sony Walkman and the Falklands War, as head teacher Jack Sheffield returns to Ragley-on-the-Forest School for another rollercoaster year.
- Educating Jack – As the 1982 school year begins, Jack Sheffield returns to Ragley village school for his sixth year as headteacher. Nora Pratt celebrates twenty-five years in her coffee shop, Ronnie Smith finally tries to get a job, and little Krystal Entwhistle causes concern in the school Nativity play. It’s the time of ET and Greenham Common,. Price William’s birth, Fame legwarmers and the puzzling introduction of the 20p piece. Meanwhile, for Jack, the biggest surprise of his life is in store…
- School’s Out – As the new school year begins, Jack Sheffield prepares for an even more eventful year than usual. A new teacher is appointed, and before long tongues start to wag. Meanwhile, five-year old Madona Fazackerly makes her mark in an unexpected way, life changes dramatically for Ruby the caretaker and, in the village Coffee Shop, Dorothy Humpleby plans a dirty weekend.
- Silent Night – 1984 – and it’s an important time for the children of Ragley-on-the Forest school… Their school choir is to sing a carol in a church in York, and is actually going to be on television! Helping to keep his excited children, not to mention their parents, under control during these momentous events taxes Jack and his staff to the limit.
- Star Teacher – It’s 1985, and as Jack returns for another year as headteacher at Ragley village school, some changes are in store. It’s the year of Halley’s Comet, Band Aid, Trivial Pursuit, Dynasty shoulder pads, Roland Rat and Microsoft Windows. And at Ragley-on-the-Forest, Heathcliffe Earnshaw decides to enter the village scarecrow competition, Ruby the caretaker finds romance, and retirement looms for Vera the secretary.
- Happiest Days – It’s 1986 and Jack Sheffield returns to Ragley village school for his tenth rollercoaster year as headteacher. It’s the year of Margaret Thatcher’s third election victory, Dynasty and shoulder pads, Neighbours and a Transformer for Christmas. And at Ragley-on-the-Forest School, a year of surprises is in store. Ruby the Caretaker find happiness at last, Vera the Secretary makes an important decision, a new teacher is appointed and a disaster threatens the school.
- Starting Over – Ragley, 1952. Lily has just arrived, ready to begin her first year as a teacher at the village school. There to welcome her is John Pruett, who, after his years in the war, has settled into the role of headmaster. Tom, the local bobby, is also on hand to make her feel at home up north. But Lily has a secret lurking in her past that threatens the new life she’s trying to build.
- Changing Times – For the residents of Ragley, the small Yorkshire village, the war is finally starting to feel like a distant memory. Gone are the days of rationing and sacrifice, replaced with the joys of spin-dryers and Beatlemania. But Lily Feather can’t quite forget the events of the war and the years that followed. Buried in her past remains a terrible secret from which she cannot escape but that still threatens her fragile family. After the death of their mother, her brother, Freddie, has come to depend on her and her husband, but their lives will soon change for ever.
- Back to School – The year is 1969 and Jack Sheffield is a young teacher in need of a job. In a room full of twenty-nine other newly qualified teachers, he’s overjoyed when he’s appointed to Heather View Primary. Jack is excited to start his first year there and to begin shaping young minds in a beautiful new location on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. But Heather View isn’t as idyllic as it first sounds. In fact, it looks more like a prison than a primary school. With less than adequate funding and a head teacher who doesn’t seem to care, it’s no easy task to give the kids the education they deserve. But Jack’s determined to do just that.
- School Days – The year is 1976 and Jack Sheffield never wants to leave his job. Jack has been the deputy head teacher at Newbridge Primary School for six years now, and he’s happy exactly where he is – even if it sometimes feels like there are a few things missing from his life. After all, the kids keep him busy and there’s always a game of rugby to play.