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Humor Essays

You Suck, Sir

Chronicles of a High School English Teacher and the Smartass Students Who Schooled Him

by (author) Paul Bae

Arsenal Pulp Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2020
Essays, Cultural Heritage, Personal Memoirs
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2020
    List Price

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By the creator/co-creator of the podcasts The Black Tapes and The Big Loop: reading between the lines of the hilarious conversations between a teacher and his students.

Before he became a famous stand-up comedian and podcast creator, Paul Bae taught English in Vancouver's largest public school. One day during his student-teaching practicum, he assigned weekend homework to an English class.

A student muttered, "You suck."

Mr. Bae turned on his heel, approached the student, and sternly asked, "What did you say?"

The student replied, "Sorry. You suck, sir."

Mr. Bae promptly returned to his desk, took out his teaching journal, and wrote down the exchange. That would become the first entry of hundreds of encounters with students.

Over twelve years of teaching English, Paul Bae - known simply as "Sir" or "Mr. Bae" - kept several journals in which he recorded conversations he had with his students. You Suck, Sir presents the best of those conversations. Ranging from outrageously funny to touchingly poignant, these vignettes are full of heart. Paul's stories are an irreverent, honest glimpse of teaching and learning and an inspiring peek into the connection one teacher has with his students. Both educators and anyone who has ever been a student will see themselves and their daily triumphs and struggles reflected here.


You Suck, Sir is the latest title to be published under the Robin's Egg Books imprint. Robin's Egg Books features some of the freshest, smartest, and above all, funniest writing on a variety of culturally relevant subjects. Titles in the imprint are curated and edited by comedian, playwright, and author Charles Demers.

About the author

Paul Bae is a comedian, writer, actor, and podcaster. He is the award-winning co-creator and co-writer of the podcast The Black Tapes and the author and producer of the critically acclaimed podcast The Big Loop. He lives in Lions Bay, BC.

Paul Bae's profile page

Editorial Reviews

Charm is abundantly on offer in this book, as are closely observed moments of student life. -Vancouver Sun

Jokes aside, what raises You Suck, Sir above the mass-market humour genre are its countless insights into teaching and mentoring: Bae's teachable moments include how both teachers and students can deal with bullying, misogyny, peer pressure, problems at home, and that traumatic first nasty YouTube comment. Rather than feeling cheesy or sentimental, these moments paint Bae as an honest and open teacher who's built a trusted rapport with his students and can serve as models for teachers everywhere. -Shrapnel Magazine

I feel a bit ahead of the curve here, because I was a fan of the You Suck, Sir stories long before they became a book, and a fan of Paul Bae as a comedian long before learning he was the one writing them. I probably should have put it together sooner, because it makes perfect sense -- they're both tremendously entertaining, always insightful, and funny as hell. Maybe I'm a little slow. -Brent Butt, creator and star of Corner Gas

If you're a teacher, or a student, or had a teacher, you will enjoy this book very much. So that's pretty much everyone. Paul has a great handle on the ins and outs of being a teacher, and his humorous take on the profession is a fun read for everyone. -Gerry Dee, creator and star of Mr. D