Saturday, February 11, 2012

First Year Teacher: Wit and Wisdom From Teachers Who've Been There

First-year teachers are always filled with a great zest for embarking upon their new career, as well as some trepidation about encountering the unknown. They feel like they know everything, yet realize that they know little. While many topics about the world of education are truly taught in the classroom, nothing replaces years of experience.

Randy Howe seeks to help those newbies be successful during those first 100 days in his book First Year Teacher: Wit and Wisdom From Teachers Who've Been There. To do so, he has collected a bunch of quotes from veteran teachers around the United States. These quotes make up over half of the book. The rest of it consists of introductory paragraphs of advice from him. He is a special education teacher with a history of collecting inspiring quotes and putting them into books.

I like the advice given in this book. While it is directed at more mainstream public school teachers, the book provides some good information for those even in alternative or private settings. I particularly like the advice on dealing with difficult parents and working with administration.

The beginning of the book felt a bit tedious, wading through several pages of quotes. I wanted more meat than simple one-liners from others. Give me a solid explanation of a concept and then add a few quotes to embellish it. Later chapters in the book provided this for me.

I read my copy as a free download from the Amazon Kindle store. I read it on the Kindle Cloud Reader on my laptop and then skimmed it using the Kindle app on my Droid. On the laptop, there were a few formatting issues, in which lines between paragraphs and sections were omitted. On the Droid, there were extra spaces. Other than those, it is presented in an easy-to-read format.

The audience for this book is intended to be that first-year teacher. I would recommend reading it during student teaching, or immediately after. It also would be good summer reading prior to starting that first job. But veteran teachers could benefit from a few reminders within the sections on discipline and dealing with parents.

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