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Embarrassment: And the Emotional Underlife of Learning
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Embarrassment: And the Emotional Underlife of Learning

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  84 ratings  ·  22 reviews
"Why has no one written about this subject before? Every teacher should read this book." Michael G. Thompson, coauthor of Raising Cain

Embarrassment. None of us escape it. Especially as kids, in school. How might our fear of failure, of not living up to expectations, be holding us back? How can our fear of embarrassment affect how we learn, how we teach, and how we live?

Paperback, 216 pages
Published September 15th 2017 by Heinemann Educational Books
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Feb 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For my full review, jump down this rabbit hole:
Brian Kelley
Oct 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Just an absolute beautiful book on starting from a place of empathy. A beautiful book that reminds teachers where the soul of our vocation lives and breathes.
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Here are important points I collected from each chapter:
You're not what you think you are.
Embarrassment comes from how we relate to ourselves more than from how we relate to others.
Self-esteem is build on public demonstrations of competence.
You can learn as much from being helped as you can from helping. Ask for help.
When I'm on my game in the classroom I am more likely to achieve my goal of helping my students show their brilliance.
Inspire curiosity.
Connect emotionally to the "sticky bits" of
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
At NCTE2017 last month, Penny Kittle raved about this new book, saying it was one of the best written about our profession today. Being a great admirer Newkirk, I didn't hesitate to start, and I can now echo her rave whole-heartedly. Embarrassment is one of the most eye-opening texts on the emotional barriers students and teachers experience in the classroom.

It's not difficult to see parallels between the work done here by Tom Newkirk about embarrassment and the groundbreaking and beloved work o
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved the emphasis in this book, on the emotional piece of learning, on how awful it can feel to do poorly or get an answer wrong in class, on how unrealistic our cheery language about the need for failure is. It's a bit of a wandering book, with a through line but otherwise not much structure, although I took that in stride and decided to enjoy it as an expression of exploration. Be warned that Newkirk is a professor of writing and that this field is his go-to for examples of lessons, student ...more
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nancie Atwell mentioned this book during the NCTE conference in November. She said it may be the most important book on education written in the last twenty years. I think she's right. Newkirk writes about a topic--embarrassment--that we mention from time to time but don't typically give the attention it warrants. I've thoroughly marked up my copy and will return to it regularly.

"We may say, 'I know how you feel'--but we really don't. And often we don't try hard enough; we short-circuit. Perhap
Sep 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a thoughtful, philosophical education book that is just as much about teachers (and people in general) as it is about students. Newkirk challenges the argument that we all start out as natural learners and argues that learning is often unnatural because it requires us to be vulnerable and reveal weaknesses. He then looks at ways we can be more generous with ourselves and our students, inviting them to take intellectual risks in discussion, reading, writing, and math. Newkirk offers more ...more
Toby Murphy
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Many times, we, as teachers, are expected, either by our own doing or outside forces, are expected to put on a front of perfection. Newkirk offers the chance to be human again. I liked this book. It's different than many professional development type books for teachers. It's much more theory based than practical tips or strategies, but gives the reader a chance to think about a topic that normally goes ignored. It's certainty not a book that should be rushed should be savored. Many times I wish ...more
Rose Peterson
Mar 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Given the glowing reviews from trusted ELA experts, I'm left feeling like I missed something after finishing this book. It was under-researched, relying mainly on anecdotal evidence and personal opinion. Newkirk seemed out of his depth but unwilling to consult experts in the field to supplement his knowledge. Not only was the content not where I expected it to be, but the organization felt haphazard as well--perhaps a collection of essays would have provided a more logical structure than the hod ...more
Feb 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this was like having a beer and a good conversation with my old friend. His voice comes through loud and clear. He even makes sense. I think his experience and thoughtfulness come together to offer useful insights into emotional embarrassments that interfere with all sorts of learning but especially school learning. Many of the problems may be avoidable.

Tom sent me a copy inscribed: To Paul, So happy we have stayed in touch over the years. You always bring back good memories of Oberlin.
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I read this book in advance of the Conference on English Leadership’s upcoming Facebook discussion about it. As I expected, Newkirk’s writing gave me a lot on which to reflect both as a teacher and a literacy leader. I’m certain one of my go-to phrases when confronted with any challenging, perhaps overwhelming, situation will be “Draw the damn circle.” I cannot wait to begin discussing this book on August 12 with colleagues. Reach out to me if you want to join the conversation. (You must be a CE ...more
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m bias since Newkirk was a professor of mine, and since he mentions other teachers and mentors from my UNH years that I have fond memories of. That being said, so much is important to remember about how we talk to our students about skills they are developing and seeing ourselves as coaches who teach students how to deal with struggle and failure through providing them the language with which to assess where they went off course.
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-reading
This book should be required reading for educators. I highlighted and tabbed an "embarrassing" number of lines and sections. While teachers may ask for practical action steps upon completing this read, I think the book is more about guiding us in interacting with students, and with each other.
Inspiring and insightful.
Sheila Bracken
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The perfect book for my present state: veteran teacher torn between speaking up & remaining silent, looking for new ways to encourage & inspire, seeking tips for improving my writing & that of my students. For such a small book, it’s chock full of quotes & stories & strategies.
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
interesting view on education
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
Based in years of experience and narratives, this is a really important book for teachers. I would highly recommend adding it to your summer reading stack!
Mrs. Krajewski
Oct 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mandatory reading for all teachers.
Sonja Wright
Every educator should read this book. Every. Single. One.
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another winner by Newkirk. He seems to get better with each new book. If you want a classroom that encourages a growth mindset, be sure to read Embarrassment.
Heather White
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wasn't planning to read this whole book today, but once I started, I couldn't stop. This book should be required reading for all teachers.
Jul 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
This book is a powerful tool for teachers to help them understand their own feelings of embasrrassment as well as those of their students. I will refer back to parts of this book often.
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Sep 27, 2018
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