2009. 239 pages. paperback.
From: Per usual, the public library
In a nutshell:
This is a blog turned book. A second grade teacher describes her experience teaching for her seventh year at a public school in Harlem. Her rants are mostly directed at administrative ineptitude, but can also include lazy colleagues and unhelpful parents. The children can be exasperating but are not the targets of her rants.
I had never heard of the author’s blog before, but I saw the book in my library’s new book section and it looked intriguing. I have no aspirations of being a teacher, but am curious to read books which dish about a particular profession.
The author’s style is very informal, which makes sense as this started as a blog. Strangely, I found this conversational style a bit off-putting at times, rather than inviting. I felt that we got off on the wrong foot by the introduction, when Mrs. Mimi launches a tirade against people who think her job is cute or easy. Though I am not a teacher, I don’t think any of these things, so I didn’t take her attack personally. But the almost, well, bitterness displayed was a bit much to throw at the reader from the beginning. I felt like she could have reined her frustration and anger in while writing the book and still made the points she wanted to make.
Don’t get me wrong: the stories she tells are fascinating in their demonstration of public school ridiculousness. Like the time when the principal tells the teachers that they will not be receiving paper for their classrooms because the school is “Going Green” and yet the administration still has paper for what they do. Or the time when the vice-principal neglects to tell the teacher that the field trip has been canceled until all the kids are in their coats and ready to go. And some other gems like that can be found in the book.
I feel like this book’s target audience is other elementary school teachers. My friend D. works as an ESL teacher and when I read her a section of the book, she nodded in emphatic agreement, as in, Amen to that. So I think it would be cathartic in that sense, for teachers to read that other teachers are going through the same types of crap.
As for me, non-teacher in nice office job, I found the stories she told from the front-lines of public school education to be interesting, even if I didn’t always like the tone or style of the book.
I welcome recommendations for non-fiction books that dish about a particular profession (not necessarily education, but that is fine too).