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Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had

4.11  ·  Rating Details ·  565 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
As a child with Tourette syndrome, Brad Cohen was ridiculed, beaten, mocked, and shunned. Children, teachers, and even family members found it difficult to be around him. As a teen, he was viewed by many as purposefully misbehaving, even though he had little power over the twitches and noises he produced, especially under stress. Even today, Brad is sometimes ejected from ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published November 25th 2008 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published September 25th 2005)
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Mary Jo
Dec 18, 2008 Mary Jo rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for every teacher, not specifically because of the tourette syndrome ties but simply because each and every teacher needs to work with each child regardless of capabilities or disabilities. Brad Cohen was a victim of numerous humiliations and banishments because of tourette syndrome... many of these humiliations at the hands of his own teachers. As the title indicates, he decided early on in his life that he would become a teacher, "the teacher he never had." ...more
Eulalio Arcia
May 09, 2012 Eulalio Arcia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started this book last week. I am a teacher and this book has empowered my desire to reach to these kids with learning disabilities who need a teacher that makes a difference in their lives.
This is the second book I read about Tourette Syndrome, the other one was AGAINST MEDICAL ADVICE- Both book depict how sad it has been for those kids to deal with their disease, their family and even worse with classmates or teachers who make their lives even more miserable.

I am almost finishing and I have
Jared Millet
Feb 13, 2011 Jared Millet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
As someone with Tourette syndrome myself, I periodically dip into the literature. Front of the Class isn't about Tourette's in general, but one person's experience of it. Brad Cohen is a fantastic advocate for those of us with this particular ailment, and for those of you without, his biography should give a lot of insight into what it's like to grow up, go to college, and get a job while dealing with uncontrollable tics. It's also a great motivational book - Cohen's obstacles in life were a lot ...more
Oct 27, 2014 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ever since I saw Brad Cohen's story on the Hallmark Hall of Fame movie, I was intrigued to read his book. I wondered if the movie had been white-washed by hallmark or built up to tug on heartstrings. The movie may compress events in Cohen's life and make it appear as if they happened closer together, but the movie very accurately portrays a period of this extraordinary teacher's extraordinary life. Cohen has lived all of his life with a constant companion. It's demanding and disruptive, unpredic ...more
May 29, 2012 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Upon reading this book, I am not ashamed to tell anyone that I almost cried. As a person who also has a disability, Brad Cohen’s journey and his successes are truly an inspiration to us all. Whether you have touretts or another kind of disability, he embodies all the valuable characteristics of a person who struggled and achieved his dreams despite the ridicule and negative attitudes he endured from early childhood and most likely even till this day.

What struck me the most about Mr. Cohen’s stor
Oct 16, 2014 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me quite a bit longer to read this book. Sometimes I had to stop because I couldn't see the words through my tears. Sometimes I just wasn't emotionally ready that day. But I am very thankful to have come across it. Not only is it an excellent read for people with tourette ' s or parents of children with tourette ' s or teachers, it reminds you to give everyone a chance. Everyone is fighting their own battle. Some you can see, others you can't.
Jan 16, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
Recommended to Nancy by: Laura Smith
Shelves: disabilities
I was given this book for Christmas, and I'm so glad! Brad's determined optimism is no less than inspiring. He is a model for all of us when it comes to overcoming obstacles to achieve goals. It is so impressive how Brad has turned his disability into a lifelong learning opportunity. Although he often felt disappointed or embarrassed, he never allowed himself to wallow in these feelings. Instead, he consistently chose to put a positive spin on his experiences, even the most challenging and disco ...more
Jun 21, 2016 Harriet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very inspiring book!
Walid Mcloufy

Front of the Class is the inspirational story of Brad Cohen, a man who does not let life's challenges get in the way of his dreams. Brad Cohen has Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder that makes him twitch and make noises constantly. As a young boy, he was made fun of and put down by his classmates and teachers but decided to grow from everything he had endured. Despite all the bullying he endured during his childhood and the trouble he went through with his father, Cohen was determined to
Brittany Fichter
Feb 12, 2015 Brittany Fichter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Parents/Individuals with Tourette Syndrome, Educators, Doctors
Recommended to Brittany by: My mother
Shelves: disorders
This is one of my favorite memoirs of all time. As a fellow "ticcer," it's nearly painful to read about Cohen's childhood struggles in the classroom and at home. As I also have a degree in secondary eduction, it pains me to read of his teachers' treatment of him as a student. Cohen's struggles didn't end with primary or secondary school, either. Despite being a bright, successful college student and then certified teacher, Cohen faced prejudice and cruelty nearly everywhere he went. Rather than ...more
Oct 16, 2014 Toni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book.
Jan 04, 2009 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting story of what it's like to live with severe Tourette's. It helped me understand the sufferer's frustration. I did, however, dislike Cohen's writing style. An author he is not. His writing was simplistic and repetitive; he could have halved the book and still covered the same amount of material. But I guess I should cut him a break because it's probably difficult to type while ticcing.
Jun 18, 2014 Vanna rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Cohen's book is worth reading for the breaking points in which he experiences life: applying for college, applying for jobs,parent denial, losing a student to cancer. The text depicts how vicious society is towards someone that is found to be different. I had to read this text for an education class Which was attached to the standard discussion questions. IE: why are kids more understanding in comparison to adults? Do you think discrimination will continue? what learning strategies did you learn ...more
Jan 13, 2015 Andy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best non-self-help books that helps me more than any others self-help books. I can feel that Brad express well that how hard life is for someone born with a disability like Tourette Syndrome. However , with unconditional love from his mother and grandmothers and understanding from kind Principle , they make the best of him and make him the teacher him never had . There is always something you can do . Never let yourself pity take control of you life. As Charlie munger put it , it won ...more
Jun 10, 2007 Grace rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to learn more about Tourette's
An encouraging book-- since I'm a mom of a kid with Tourette's. Brad was way more affected than our family is, yet he was able to overcome the disadvantages to become successful.
Mar 28, 2013 Kathryn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathryn by: Kathy Holscher
Shelves: 2013
An incredible story of perseverance and determination to make something of himself with Tourette Syndrome and become the teacher he never had.
Kurnia Amirullah
Aug 14, 2015 Kurnia Amirullah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really appreciate the efforts of Brad Cohen to write this book, how the story of his life with Tourette's syndrome. I get some interesting words, that explains what it is about Tourette's syndrome and impression when he first knew that the unique behavior has a name in the world of medicine. And the story battling Tourette's syndrome, until he earned an exemplary teacher is really inspiring.
I also have Tourette's syndrome. So I know the struggle. In Indonesia, it's a new struggle begins.
4 star f
Jul 10, 2015 Wanda rated it really liked it
This is a phenomenal book. I am inspired by Brad's perseverance and optimism, and was astounded by his constant drive to educate others. He is not only an advocate for people with TS, but also proves that people with mental health issues and other exceptionalities can overcome obstacles to living successful and fulfilling lives. I was particularly impressed by the candour with which he portrayed his struggles, the fear and self-doubt that can arise in the face of hardship stemming from an immuta ...more
Dennis D.
Dec 31, 2008 Dennis D. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers, parents of kids with disabilities and learning challenges
I liked this auto-biography. It was recently filmed as a made-for-TV movie, and, although I didn’t see it, some of the promo articles the movie led me to seek out this book.

The author, Brad Cohen, suffers from Tourette Syndrome, and ‘Front of the Class’ chronicles his struggle to deal with the disease and to overcome the limitations it places on him. It was interesting, to learn that although TS was first identified in the mid-19th century, all but the most extreme cases went undiagnosed as TS
May 12, 2010 Jalexander rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever been made fun of? Have you ever made fun of somebody else? Imagine going out in public and getting mocked, stared at, pointed at, and made fun of. This is what the main character and narrator, Brad Cohen, who wrote FRONT OF THE CLASS has to deal with for his whole life. If you like a touching yet happy ending autobiography, this is the book for you.
Brads life long dream was to be a teacher. He knew this is what he has to do after he educated his whole school about Tourette syndro
Apr 12, 2011 Ida rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't read a lot of non-fiction but as one of my kiddos is dealing with tics (though nothing like what the author deals with) I was drawn to this book. Its fascinating and heart-breaking to read what he went through. But its not a woe is me story. The author had an amazingly good attitude even as a picked on and misunderstood child. It was very inspirational to read about how he kept trying despite set-backs and prejudice. The book was made into a Hallmark movie. Its on Youtube in chunks. I wa ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Amy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brad Cohen’s book, “Front of the Class: How Tourette Syndrome Made Me the Teacher I Never Had”, is an excellent read. It is an autobiographical text that portrays the life of Brad Cohen, who is an individual with Tourette syndrome. The long and difficult journey that he has been on and where he is today is discussed in this book. By describing the humiliation and rejection he endured in school and in his community, the reader cannot help but experience the painful emotions Brad felt during many ...more
Jul 11, 2010 Nikki rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biographies-auto
It's really hard for me to conjure up words to describe how much Brad's story has touched my heart. I literally just finished this book, and I am still speechless. Maybe my praise for this book sounds a little over-exaggerated, but it seriously speaks to me. I was recently diasgnosed with Tourette Syndrome, so you would understand why I feel this way. Brad's story isn't just about not being accepted into society because of his Tourette's, it's about anyone not being able to fit in into a society ...more
Elizabeth A.
Nov 02, 2012 Elizabeth A. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the labels on this book, it is not a book about Tourette Syndrom. Front of the Class is a book about perserverance and reaching your dreams (it goes perfectly with our new unit!). Brad Cohen has Tourette Syndrome, a condition that causes him to be unable to control muscle spasms and loud noises such as "whooping", shrieking, etc. Cohen has a difficult childhood because of this; kids and adults alike believed he was an attention-seeking, dumb student. In reality, Cohen worked harder than ...more
Jan 09, 2014 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first saw the movie before I read this book. They are very similar. In fact, I met Brad and Jimmy (the guy who played Brad in the movie) at the camp the he opened called Camp Twitch and Shout. This book shows how he grew up with Tourette's and how often people judged him. It was hard for people to understand what was going on with him. All that motivated him to become a teacher because none of his teachers accepted him until later on.
It shows his struggles and his ups and downs as a child. Th
Ruth Hyland
this book is so much better as opposed to the strongest librarian book. both memoirs from guys with severe tourettes. Brad is so much more positive in dealing with his disability. He is an inspiration for teachers and those with conditions that make everyday living or school extremely difficult. I'm going to have my teen son read it who has very mild (barely registers) tourettes.
Oct 27, 2014 Pimmy♥S. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
"Front of the Class". The story of Brad Cohen who suffered from Tourette Syndrome.
Well, correction, it must be 'Brad who can live happily and successfully with his close friend, Tourette Syndrome'.

This book really made me delighted to have and read it. Brad Cohen is such a wonderful guy. This is awesome.
I LOVE IT! Great ecstasy.
Jan 07, 2014 Irwinc rated it it was amazing
Reading the cover before the text,I thought it's a self-pity biography that only a sad guy talk about his sad life.
However,after finishing it,I knew I was wrong.Brad is anything but a pessimist.He was courageous when he encountered obstacles,and he always found out solution himself rather than just praying.He never shrunk from the difficulty and finally got his dream job--a teacher.
I was highly exhilarated by Cohen's spirit.Every time I felt frustrated,I summon up Cohen's story:He could go again
May 12, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an inspiring book. The writing was fine, but what impacted me most is Cohen's determination and example to not use Tourette's (or any obstacle) as an excuse. He just persevered and got stronger. It is a wonderful example how our trials can make us better and give us insight and wisdom.
Chi Han Liu
Feb 12, 2014 Chi Han Liu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book made me look positive to life. So a person like Brad Cohen suffered so much unequal treatment could be successful, who cannot be successful with the attitude he is.
This book taught me to find my own advantages and to be who i want to be. It's okay to be different than others and there is no model answer for "life".
Lots of point of view may be the way to overcome obstacles in future. Very recommend to everybody to read this book.
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Lisa Wysocky is a former entertainment publicist who was recently chosen as one of the top riding instructors in the nation. A motivational speaker and equine clinician, she can be reached at"
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“Everyone, regardless of ability or disability, has strengths and weaknesses. Know what yours are. Build on your strengths and find a way around your weaknesses.” 11 likes
“you can’t judge a banana by the outside. The outside of the banana might be all bruised and discolored and look really nasty, but once you open the banana and peel the skin back, there could be a nice, clean, fresh banana inside. I also explained that there are all different kinds of bananas, just as there are all different kinds of people, and that we shouldn’t judge either the people or the bananas in our lives until we have the chance to “peel back the skin” and learn what’s inside.” 6 likes
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