Upwardly mobile and newly rich Americans, shut out of New York society by the established and numerically restricted social register, turn to EnglandUpwardly mobile and newly rich Americans, shut out of New York society by the established and numerically restricted social register, turn to England as a source of social position and titled husbands for their daughters. Impoverished English noblemen are glad to oblige because not only do these girls outshine their English sisters (having been intensively schooled in the social arts and in how to dress stunningly), but they are really, really, rich. After elaborate and expensive weddings, are smacked upside the head by culture shock and the lax sexual morality of the aristocracy. The author details the various ways these transplanted Americans ladies coped.
Even though I was interested in the topic, I had to force myself to finish this book because its format was so distracting. It was full of little side bars and the text was continually interrupted by single or double page spreads focusing on special topics. If you like to browse rather than read, you may enjoy this approach. I didn't....more
Written by an education reporter for the New York Times, this book details the experiences of Donna Moffett, during her first year as a first grade teWritten by an education reporter for the New York Times, this book details the experiences of Donna Moffett, during her first year as a first grade teacher. Previously an executive secretary for a law firm, she embarked on her second career by applying to be an Education Fellow, talented members of other professions who were being recruited to teach at troubled New York public schools. It was hoped that their idealism, fresh outlook, and varied skills would leaven the educational establishment. (As an inducement, recruits were offered free Master's degrees in education through evening classes which they would attend while teaching full time.)
This is not a feel-good story about how one person made a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children. But neither is it a hopeless narrative.
Despite the physically exhausting work, the skimpy summer training, and the lack of continued mentoring which the Fellows had been promised, Donna Moffett did manage come to terms with the sometimes adversarial school bureaucracy and the wilting of her own idealism during her first year of teaching. And despite serious doubts about whether she could even stick it out, she was eventually able to integrate her clueless education classes, the restrictions of the school's mandated reading and math programs, and the requirements of her immediate supervisors with her own hard-won experience working with her students and her inherent desire to share her love of reading. At the time the book was published, several years later, Ms. Moffett was still teaching first grade and with a level of competence she could not have imagined midway through that first tempestuous year.
On a more personal note: as a retired homeschooling mom, part of of me was was screaming, "I'm soooo glad we homeschooled!" But another part was filled with admiration for classroom teachers in the trenches. I don't think I could ever do what they do.