A funny, inspiring remembrance of a life devoted to education.

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Yo Miz!

1 TEACHER + 25 SCHOOLS = 1 WACKY YEAR

A teacher’s memoir of a meandering but deeply purposeful career.

Debut author Rose was at first despondent when she learned that she was losing her permanent teaching position at a public school where she’d helped to raise $325,000. Her consolation prize was a job as a “rotating substitute teacher” in the absent-teacher reserve, wandering from school to school; she was always the new teacher that none of the faculty knew and none of the students trusted. Instead of retiring, which she considered, she turned the job into a tour of New York City’s public school system, which she chronicles in this book. She devotes each chapter to a new assignment and describes teaching such subjects as American history, creative writing, and art. Along the way, she constantly interviewed for permanent positions and confronted the dysfunctional Department of Education bureaucracy, which seemed committed to making teaching and learning as difficult as possible. The author’s voice is punchy, comedic, and even whimsical—unsurprising for someone who stages one-woman off-Broadway shows in her spare time. She sometimes expresses her complaints about education in exasperated but lighthearted letters to the DOE: “You’re good with the mandates, right?...How ’bout mandating an explosion of Creative Encounters of the First Kind with our world-class New York City institutions? Couldn’t you give all our kids equal access to the arts?” Amid all the humor, she tells of plenty of heartbreak as well; during one class, for example, an otherwise reticent student revealed that he killed his stepfather at the age of 7. Despite the litany of challenges that Rose faced, though, her book never devolves into an unabashed lament. In fact, her recollection is a testament to the fact that, even under the most unpropitious circumstances, learning is possible under the tutelage of a talented, committed teacher.

A funny, inspiring remembrance of a life devoted to education.

Pub Date: March 31, 2015

ISBN: 978-0990439219

Page Count: 412

Publisher: By Any Other Name Publishing

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2015

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

SEVERAL SHORT SENTENCES ABOUT WRITING

New York Times columnist and editorial board member delivers a slim book for aspiring writers, offering saws and sense, wisdom and waggery, biases and biting sarcasm.

Klinkenborg (Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, 2006), who’s taught for decades, endeavors to keep things simple in his prose, and he urges other writers to do the same. (Note: He despises abuses of the word as, as he continually reminds readers.) In the early sections, the author ignores traditional paragraphing so that the text resembles a long free-verse poem. He urges readers to use short, clear sentences and to make sure each one is healthy before moving on; notes that it’s acceptable to start sentences with and and but; sees benefits in diagramming sentences; stresses that all writing is revision; periodically blasts the formulaic writing that many (most?) students learn in school; argues that knowing where you’re headed before you begin might be good for a vacation, but not for a piece of writing; and believes that writers must trust readers more, and trust themselves. Most of Klinkenborg’s advice is neither radical nor especially profound (“Turn to the poets. / Learn from them”), and the text suffers from a corrosive fallacy: that if his strategies work for him they will work for all. The final fifth of the text includes some passages from writers he admires (McPhee, Oates, Cheever) and some of his students’ awkward sentences, which he treats analytically but sometimes with a surprising sarcasm that veers near meanness. He includes examples of students’ dangling modifiers, malapropisms, errors of pronoun agreement, wordiness and other mistakes.

Analyzing his craft, a careful craftsman urges with Thoreauvian conviction that writers should simplify, simplify, simplify.

Pub Date: Aug. 7, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-307-26634-7

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2012

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