From his perspective of over forty years in education, Jonathan Kozol writes a series of warm letters to Francesca, a new first-grade teacher at an inner-city school in Boston. Visiting her class and answering her questions has Kozol reflecting on his experiences with motivating students, eschewing administrative control, and dealing with standardized testing. Several of the personal stories will seem familiar to Kozol fans, but this new presentation makes them live again, and it's always refreshing to hear someone speaking sense about education. David Drummond delivers the material well. At some points his voice and words are gentle, as if trying to calm the new teacher; at others his tone is passionate and tinged with anger at the insanity of current policies.
Letters to a Young Teacher reignites a number of the controversial issues that Kozol has powerfully addressed in recent years: the mania of high-stakes testing that turns many classrooms into test-prep factories where spontaneity and critical intelligence are no longer valued, the invasion of our public schools by predatory private corporations, and the inequalities of urban schools that are once again almost as segregated as they were a century ago.
But most of all, these letters are rich with the happiness of teaching children, the curiosity and jubilant excitement children bring into the classroom at an early age, and their ability to overcome their insecurities when they are in the hands of an adoring and hard-working teacher.
©2007 Jonathan Kozol; (P)2007 Tantor Media Inc.
"Encouraging...forceful...convincingly argued." (Publishers Weekly)"Remarkable....Every citizen who cares about the future of our children ought to read this." (Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar)
This book has a lot of "real" new teacher issues. It is great for any new teacher of an urban classroom. Don't get caught up in the author's soap box.....otherwise it does provide some good suggestions for a new teacher.
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