Going to School With A Thousand Kids

Book - 2016
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In 2014, after a brief orientation course and a few fingerprinting sessions, Nicholson Baker became an on-call substitute teacher in a Maine public school district. Nearly every morning, he awoke to the dispatcher's five-forty a.m. phone call and headed to a nearby school. When he got there, he did his best to follow lesson plans and help his students get something done. In Baker's hands, the inner life of the classroom is examined anew -- mundane worksheets, recess time-outs, surprise nosebleeds, rebellions, griefs, minor triumphs, kindergarten show-and-tell, daily lessons on everything from geology to metal tech to the Holocaust -- as he and his pupils struggle to find ways to get through the day. Baker is one of the most inventive and remarkable writers of our time, and this book, filled with humor, honesty, and empathy, may be his most impressive work of nonfiction yet. -- adapted from book jacket.
Publisher: New York : Blue Rider Press, [2016]
ISBN: 9780399160981
Branch Call Number: 371.14122 B175S 2016
Characteristics: 719 pages ; 24 cm


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Aug 11, 2017

Though reading chapter after chapter of detail on the author's experiences in various substitute teaching jobs may get a bit tedious, it is certainly eye-opening regarding the horrendous state of the public school system. Especially frightening is the horrific effect that technology is having on education--and not a good one. Why does our government insist on turning a blind eye and throwing good money after bad? Technology is a black hole of constant upgrades and updates. Most worthwhile basic skills (math, reading, arts) can be taught just as well WITHOUT it. Kids will find their way to technology outside of school. Let's leave it there.

Jun 22, 2017

A renowned author recounts his offering to be a substitute teacher - and was able to do just that - in the course of 28 non-consecutive days over a period of four months in the spring of 2014. He had the chance to teach everything from kindergarten to grade 12, special education, gifted track students, and shop, as well as act as an "ed tech" (educational assistant) to teachers. The book is both a tribute to and an indictment of the American education system, where students struggle to be individuals while trying to conform to the "common curriculum." It also looks at interpersonal conflicts, and the temptation to play games on school issued iPads instead of working on assignments downloaded from school servers. Not to mention the substitute being waked up at 5:30 in the morning to be told the day's assignment, and rushing to the coffee shop drive-thru and attempting to get to school on time. One of the most honest books I've read in a long time ... administrators should read this book to get ideas on how things can be improved for kids of all ages, everywhere.


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