AN ENGLISH teacher who was sacked after her racy novel appeared on the internet says it has caused her enormous heartbreak ... but insists she has done nothing wrong.
Salendine Nook woman Leonora Rustamova – known as Miss Rusty – to pupils at Calder High School in Mytholmroyd, near Hebden Bridge, has spoken for the first time after losing her appeal against her sacking – and revealed she now has a publishing deal for the book.
And the 40-year-old mother-of one has told of the heartache which the case has caused and has led to the break up of her marriage and her 15-year-old daughter being taunted in the playground for having a ‘paedo’ mother.
But Mrs Rustamova said yesterday she “couldn’t regret the project” and it was a “great educational experience”.
She said: “I learned some really important things about what works with difficult students and I can’t regret that. Teaching is what I am passionate about, particularly working with disaffected kids.’’
Last Friday Mrs Rustamova lost her appeal for reinstatement to her £34,000-a-year post after she was sacked for gross misconduct in 2009.
A tribunal appeal in Leeds threw out her bid for reinstatement, although the appeal chairman voted in her favour.
Mrs Rustamova wrote the book – “Stop! Don’t Read This!” – while teaching a group of year 11 boys. Many of them faced exclusion from full-time education.
It attracted attention because it featured real names of students and teaching staff at the school, included expletives and compared two boys to “gorgeous Mr Gay UK finalists”. It also refers to one pupil flirting and fantasising about ‘Miss Rusty’.
But Mrs Rustamova, who was an experienced teacher and had worked at the school for 11 years, said there was never any intention to publish the book and it was just a classroom project.
She said she had approval from the headteacher at the school for the content.
She added that quotes from the book had been taken out of context and if they were taken in context they were not actually that shocking.
“I have to stand by the project,’’ she said. “It was an horrific class to work with. I used to be terrified going in there. It was a rough ride, but by the end it was the nicest class I had in the week. The boys needed to feel the book was tailor-made to them, to re-engage them. Their education was in a terrible state.’’
Mrs Rustamova, who has signed a publishing deal for the book, said she had been devastated by the playground taunts which had been made against her teenage daughter after the case hit the headlines.
She also revealed how her relationship with her husband had become a “disaster” and “didn’t make it through” the case.
She said she was keen to return to teaching, but was “quite scared” of going back into the classroom.
She has six weeks to decide whether to appeal against the decision and said she was “waiting for the wisdom of her legal team” before making her final decision.