I just finished this on Saturday morning.
Comment #1: I do not recommend this book.
Comment #2: I had to read this book for class.
Admittedly, I was engaged and enjoyed the story of this book, but there was a lot of language to wade around. I was shocked at how crude the book was, being written as a teacher’s memoir and all. So, I will not dwell long on this post as a critique of the book, because up front I advise you not to read it unless it is assigned.
So, why did I enjoy it? The book is the memoir of an unlikely teacher, and one whose success is surprising at times. The way that he describes his classroom management and activities never struck me as the teacher that I would most aspire to be, but the way that he connected with his students and inspired them and believed in them was another story.
I enjoyed this book because it took a normal man with new ideas and a belief in his students and showed how that looked and worked for him in the classroom. I definitely found myself brainstorming adaptations to his activities while I was reading, or laughing out loud with the ways that he carried out activities in the classroom. Sometimes, as a teacher, it is easy to get these outrageous ideas in your head of what a truly great teacher looks like and what they ought to do, but that just isn’t the case. Each teacher is different, and has a different personality. If a teacher can inspire their kids to pursue their dreams and can give them the tools they need to be successful, then that is a good teacher.
I want to be the kind of teacher that kids look back on and remember happily, and not just because they liked me but because I gave them something that they didn’t have before they met me. Maybe that’s a dream, maybe hope, or ability, or tools, or resources, or just someone to listen. But, one thing I know for sure, I want to make a difference in my students’ lives.