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I received this book for Christmas and started reading it right away. It is the perfect book for new teachers. Entertaining enough that you don’t feel like you’re reading a textbook but informative enough that it’s worth every second you spend on it.
Tony Danza (and yes, if you know the Friends reference I did have Elton John stuck in my head any time I looked at the front of the book) writes about his experience teaching English at a high school in Philadelphia. Now his first year experiences are slightly different than mine – you know, with a camera crew following his every move and trying to create drama that wasn’t there, but in the long run a lot of his struggles were oh so familiar.
I love how after every chapter he included a “teachers lounge” section that featured a variety of advice like a letter he received before his first week. There was a lot of great advice from experienced teachers to balance the day to day stories of a new teacher – both entertaining, both valuable. His experiences were a mix of practicum and first year teacher, he had the support and structure of a practicum (experienced teachers reviewing him, etc.) with the responsibilities of a first year teacher out on his own.
It is funny to me to realize how much in common there is between Tony Danza teaching high school, in the states, to a very at risk population, with a camera crew following him around and me, a second year elementary/middle school teacher in my quiet little city. But some of the stories I felt like I could have written myself. And the biggest similarity? The care and love you end up feeling for your students and the almost uncontrollable need to protect them.
This book is a must read for new teachers but I would bet that experienced teachers would get a lot of laughs and resonance from it too.
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