Turn off ""Our Miss Brooks"" and you'll find that ""it is time for active listening."" To Miss Williams, an English teacher...

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HASSLING: Two Years in a Suburban High School

Turn off ""Our Miss Brooks"" and you'll find that ""it is time for active listening."" To Miss Williams, an English teacher who spent two years (1967-1969) in a Palo Alto high school and her experience replicates what has been going on all over although this is the first book to reflect it at this level. Her account, which is rarely an audit except by inference, begins with its United Student Movement during the first year -- talking and hassling until towards its close they tied up the incoming principal to a flagpole in his pajamas and with a teddy bear. Actually Cubberley High had no really unruly events -- two students died (drugs and hairspray) over the summer and this leads into two of the three most forceful sections of the book: one on the blacks (""Hey, man, where you been?"") and one on drugs -- her estimate -- 50% at Cubberley. And the third deals with the non-retention of the school's young, innovative, social studies teacher Ron Jones (""Ron brings in too many films about ghettos, smog, war, China, poverty and grapes, plus guest speakers on everything from apartheid to socialism"") -- Ron a ""true 'true Believer' "" who resigned in order not to trigger off any of the potentially ugly tensions at Cubberley so that the year, and the book, ends quietly. Which is not to say that it should go unnoticed. It says too many things that people need to know and Miss Williams is not one of those teachers who can't -- she's a good enough writer to achieve a shattering effectiveness via understatement.

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 1970

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1970