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Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes and Other Bullshit
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July 2016: Biography Memoir > Teacher Misery - 5 stars

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Megalion | 484 comments What the synopsis promises, the book delivers.

It's billed as humor but at it's heart, it's a tragedy. I did laugh out loud at some of the anecdotes.

The rest, as amusing as they are in their insanity, that it's not fiction is horrifying.

I do keep in mind that this is one school teacher's experience (and includes some of her colleagues' second hand) at one school. Yet we've heard the horror stories from all over.

It further emphasizes the terrible consequences of the No Child Left Behind act. I can't understand why it's not yet been repealed when decades later, the sharp decline of education still persists.

Towards the end of the book, she addresses just how much extra testing there is now because of that. The most damning thing being that one corporation owns most of the school tests and etc. She quotes a spokesman saying that teachers will soon be obsolete [because their testing and educational materials are that superior].

She begins the book citing statistics about teacher burn-out. That many first year teachers quit after the first year and many more within the first 5 years.

A pervasive theme through the book is the utter lack of respect for teachers from all corners. Students, parents, and school administration. Not just lack of respect but downright extreme neglience by repeatedly putting the teachers in danger by forcing them to have students in their classes who have already demonstrated violent tendencies to them. Or have attacked other teachers.

I felt she balanced well between the long gamut of simply absurd to the simply unthinkable.

In the case of the latter, it's unfortunate that this is not a book of fiction.

I'm profoundly thankful that I graduated in time before the Digital Age took root.

Thank you to the publisher for a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

And a BIG SALUTE to her and her fellow teachers who stick it out in the trenches because for all the problem students, many more need all the education they can get.

P.S. I was particularly disgusted at the couple of anecdotes about remedial English students being able to demand admittance to Honors English. Honors is a PRIVILEGE and designed to allow students who want to make the most of their education to do so at a higher level WITHOUT BEING HELD BACK TO THE LOWEST COMMON DENOMINATOR. Damn you Dubya. You hamstrung an already deeply challenged education system.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6671 comments Yikes! This one sounds like a tough read.

I always thought I might like to be a teacher, but then I actually tried just teaching GRE classes. I learned the material, and taught exactly ONE 8 week class to three adults, all women. And you know what, even THAT was hard! And not especially rewarding.

All in all, I am glad I did it because it made me realize that teaching was probably not the right career for me . . .and to stop looking back on the fact I didn't pursue it as a negative.

I do think teachers face a lot of challenges and that many of them really work hard and are doing their best in the face of them.


message 3: by Megalion (last edited Jul 14, 2016 02:09PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Megalion | 484 comments Ugh, I feel like I wrote a rave review that warns people not to read the book. Maybe I should edit it to make it less "BEWARE!!"

That's cool Anita, in my opinion. You found a way to take a test run at it.

I'm good at teaching small groups and one on one but can't imagine trying to teach when they don't want to learn. I have good patience and a strong skill in being able to use analogies to link concepts to common things to help get that Ah ha! moment.

My teaching was in form of small workshops in my office back in the 90s. Teaching about computers & Internet 101. As an intern in DC. For a presidential committee. Good times.

It really does require a lot of patience even then!

I wonder what the women of the memoirs, The Freedom Writers Diary and Dangerous Minds think of today's school environment. Those being the two that come to mind. Fortunately in a silver lining way, Jaime Escalante passed away some years ago. From Stand and Deliver. Link is really a screenplay credit for the powerful movie in early 90s. Wonder if he kept abreast of things in his retirement? Random, I've seen the beautiful mural in L.A. of him. Breath taking.

I'm a suomiphile and Finland has one of the best education systems in the world. Formerly #1 but have dropped to #5. Yet first non Asian country on the 2016 rankings.

First is South Korea. Which I find ironic because of it being next to North Korea which has to be one of the worst I suspect, given the stranglehold of knowledge. At least what we know about.

US is #14. Frankly, higher than expected. Wonder how much secondary education is being factored into it if at all. If so, the sheer number of universities and student populations from being one of the biggest countries would counter poor HS graduation students.

A running theme in her anecdotes were students who barely ever came to class but then they or their parents would harass administration often successfully for a passing grade.

At least in college, you only get away with that if you can learn from readings and pass the finals. Still disrespectful though.


message 4: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6662 comments Megalion wrote: "
I'm a suomiphile and Finland has one of the best education systems in the world. Formerly #1 but have dropped to #5. Yet first non Asian country on the 2016 rankings. "


I like Finland's system , what I have studied of it. I'd be interested in how South Korea is doing it these days.. I interviewed a South Korean in the '80's to do a comparison and it was much different than the American and what I would imagine as good practice....they did greatly respect teachers at that time.


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