In at the Deep End: A Survival Guide for Teachers in Post-compulsory Education

Series Second Edition
Author(s) Jim Crawley
Publisher Routledge
Published 2010
Pages 212
Price £18.99
ISBN 9780415499897
Reviewed by Ms Anita Devi
University of Northampton
Review published 18 January 2011

This publication does exactly what it says on the cover – it provides teachers in post-compulsory education (PCE) with a survival guide for day-to-day teaching.  Divided into six parts it takes the reader on a journey from a generic welcome in PCE to mastery.  In effect, the book is most useful to new PCE teachers, but it also provides food for thought for experienced staff wishing to develop their own skills and move into leadership.

Embracing the diversity of PCE, the author seeks to:

  • Encourage teachers in PCE to feel part of a valued community
  • Help some teachers do their job better and enjoy it more
  • Enhance the learning of members of the community

This updated and slightly tweaked edition provides practical support and strategies.  It encourages reflection and provides practitioners in the field with activities which would be useful on all the current initial teacher training courses. The approach is eclectic by choice.  Each chapter includes ‘Thinking Points’, ‘Strategies for Survival’ and relevant references.  A comprehensive glossary is provided at the end.  Whilst specific and direct reference is not made to national standards, it is evident that the author has imbibed key concepts and practices within the publication that support the creation of ‘effective and stimulating opportunities for learning through high quality teaching that enables the development and progression of all learners.’ (Lifelong Learning UK 2006:2)

Chapter 13, in particular, brings the process of teaching in the 21st century to the forefront by considering the learning in e-learning, whilst chapter 15 addresses professional well-being in terms of managing stress and conflict in the workplace.  Thus the book captures both the practical and emotive aspects  of teaching and learning in the PCE sector.  Part V and VI (chapters 17 to 24) encourages professionals to step out of the ‘deep end’ of classroom teaching and consider the bigger picture of strategic leadership, research, and professional development.

The style of writing is fluent and easy-to read. The well structured index at front allows the reader to read it from cover to cover or to dip-in and out, as part of the on-going journey.  An extremely useful publication for all stakeholders involved in the dynamic world of PCE; regardless of whether they are new-comers or experienced teachers.

Further updated materials are provided by the author to supplement the book at

This book is also available in Kindle format (with text to speech enabled).

Reference: Lifelong Learning UK (2006) New overarching professional standards for teachers, tutors and trainers in the lifelong learning sector. Available from: