BITTER HARVEST: The Odyssey of a Harvest by Constance Melaro

BITTER HARVEST: The Odyssey of a Harvest

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This sometimes funny, basically serious, and always distressed overview of teaching today goes up the down staircase of a school (""4-H Club"") in a semi-rural area outside of Pittsburgh but what she has to say applies anywhere. Miss Melaro blames a lot of what is going on on the ""half-digested John Deweyanisms"" which have promoted the new amorality; this over-simplification aside, she has every reason to mourn the ""inception of young adult social life at the junior high level."" Actually, much of the book gets down to the almost impossible job of teaching itself (more demanding than any profession including medicine) and uses one Lorraine Perry, whose take-home pay is 227 dollars a month, as a prototype. She loses every battle with the administration and wins only one, that of the bathtub, with the kids; she has all kinds of curricular problems like teaching ""functional"" French (in this area, ""Voulez vous que je 'milke' le 'cow'""); all kinds of extra-curricular problems for the benefit of the ""whole child""-- play days, the yearbook, the prom; the question of teacher evaluations? of prejudice? of discipline versus delinquency? etc., etc. Her story, or Lorraine's, is full of very readable stuff and she raps a lot of knuckles... ""Are you listening? Do you hear us Do you care..."" Somebody should.

Publisher: Obolensky