BIG LAUGHS DUE TO SMALL TALK

RETIRED teacher Vin Shanley has seen it all in his near 30 years in the classroom.

And his days in schools in Hartlepool and Billingham have provided him with valuable material for a new book of rib-tickling tales.

Vin, 55, has followed up two previous best-sellers Classroom Clangers and Football Shorts with a third book, Classic Classroom Clangers.

In it he recounts hundreds of hilarious stories from exam answers and playground prattle to letters from parents and cock-ups from the rich and famous.

Vin taught at St Francis Grammar School and English Martyrs School in Hartlepool, before becoming headteacher at St Michael s RC School in Billingham.

He said: I have many happy memories of Hartlepool and the pupils I taught though few of them, of course, dropped clangers.

I do remember, however, as a history teacher, once setting an essay on The contribution of Mozart to the world of music and one pupil began Mozart was a child orgy .

The book, published by Robson Books and priced 6.99, is available by calling (0207) 700-7444.

Vin added: Education is a serious subject but, as in so many solemn and profound areas of life, there are occasions for mirth and hilarity.

Children and teachers have a wonderful sense of humour and I ve collected some very funny stories over the years, like the little girl who arrived home from school to tell her mam that her big sister would be late because she had been selected as a prostitute for the netball team.

As a pupil myself, doing O-Level French, I was required to translate the phrase piles of snow and, much to the hilarity of the teacher, I had looked up and used the French for haemorrhoids .

One section of the book is based on bloopers in education stories in newspapers and, somehow, the Hartlepool Mailescapes a mention.

One story from a paper contained this: The parents are not concerned with the rights and wrongs of the teachers dispute only with the welfare of the chicken.

And a correction in another offered: Due to a printing error, a story in last week s Gazette referred to school athletics coach Billy Hodgkins as an old waster . This should, of course, have read old master . We apologise to Mr Hodgkins for any embarrassment this has caused.

And then there was a letter from a parent saying: My son is under a doctor s care and should not take PE today please execute him.

Vin, a dad-of-three who lives with wife Anne in Norton, added: We laugh, as in the spirit of the book, not at the victims, but with them.

These are mistakes and clangers which, in the case of the children, show their innocence.