Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reluctant Disciplinarian

Gary Rubinstein's Reluctant Disciplinarian is a slim book with lots of white space and padding, so it's more of an entertaining pamphlet than a manual or textbook about teaching. It was written by a Teach For America teacher who had a terrible first year, one that still has him apologizing to the students unlucky enough to be in his classroom that year. He clearly had no idea how to keep order in a classroom or how to call for help when he figured this out.

Eventually he managed to learn from his mistakes and become an effective teacher, and he uses this book to humorously show both some of the mistakes he made and what he learned. He also spends a bit of time discussing the nature of advice -- showing how advice he ignored really did have grains of insight and giving some perspectives from other teachers who do things a bit differently to acknowledge that not everything he did works for everyone.

It's not a book to be assigned in a classroom training teachers, but it looks like a good book for new teachers (especially thinly trained ones) looking for encouragement that things do get better, and maybe a bit of advice on how to get there even if they are starting almost from rock bottom.

Thanks to LibraryThing's EarlyReviewers program for sending me a copy of this book.

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