In the book ‘Goodbye, Mr. Chips’ by James Hilton, a shy British teacher (Mr. Chipping – hence ‘Chips’) devotes his life to teaching after the death of his beautiful American wife. The film (1939) of the book features Robert Donat as Mr. Chips, who looks back on his long career and the people in it. And there you have it: the quintessential image of the devoted teacher, interacting with pupils and students, enabling them to excel and achieve their goals. The reality, of course, is often slightly different. Teachers are caught between the Scylla of an increasingly prescriptive curriculum and the Charybdis of public accountability; schools are expected to pick up the shortfall of parenting and social responsibility, abandoned as parents rush out to work increasingly long hours to service mortgage and consumer debt.