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My First Job: Steve Bell, political cartoonist

PUBLISHED: 10:33 20 April 2011 | UPDATED: 19:13 20 February 2013

My First Job: Steve Bell, political cartoonist

My First Job: Steve Bell, political cartoonist

Steve Bell, political cartoonist, The Guardian

John Major ignored him, fearing his cruel pen might damage him politically. John Prescott was so outraged that he reportedly threatened to head-butt him. And John Selwyn Gummer complained that to be forced to participate in his perversions was degrading.
But Brighton-based Guardian political cartoonist Steve Bell hasnt always struck fear into his audience. Not in his previous job as a teacher.
Those months were among the most gruelling of my life, says Bell, grimacing. Having to explain myself to a group of 30 kids all day every day was really difficult. I just couldnt hold order. Somewhere deep down I didnt think I could do it and didnt believe in myself as an authority figure. And when you feel like that, kids find you out very quickly.
Teaching had seemed like a rosy option when he left art school. He had friends who were teachers and thought hed give it a go. But he quickly became disillusioned when a supply teacher at a Birmingham comprehensive.
I used to long for weekends and began dreading Mondays on Friday evenings. But what really gave me pause for thought was when I had to have an impacted wisdom tooth removed and my overriding thought was: Thank goodness, Ill have a week off school. And that very thought suddenly pulled me up short.
As it happened, Bell was offered a permanent position at the school. By then he had learned a hard lesson he preferred working on his own. So he quit to seek his fortunes as a freelance cartoonist.

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