It’s been a while since I gushed about a book – but here I am – gushing all over the place with this one!
I had the pleasure (most of the time) of working in the fringes of school systems for almost 20 years. By fringe I mean all the work, none of the benefits as I was a contract substitute teacher and then a librarian in a private system. My adult son is a high school teacher and my daughter is a social worker at a shelter for teenagers so when I saw this book sitting on the shelf in Venice beach, Small World Book Store (yeah I know most people check out Muscle Beach – I got there too!), I knew I had to buy it.
This author would have fit into many of our dinner and phone conversations. The Chapter – “Who Needs Trees when you Can Have a Pencil Graveyard” was a recent conversation. My son was picking up pencils he found in the hallway and placing them in a container on his desk for his many students who found themselves in his class with nothing to write with. His school custodian saw what he was doing and now also collects and adds to his container. We live in such a disposable society that we no longer teach our children the purpose or repurpose of things. Sure we have the recycle bin and that makes us feel good – but what about reuse, less packaging – going to the source of the issue?
That’s what this book does – it suggests we go to the source. Start when the kids are young in our homes and schools so maybe by the time they reach my kids in their teens, my son can teach and my daughter, well maybe her job would not be as needed. With a lot of humor and a ton of common sense, this author presents a realistic view of not just our school system but our world.
Both my kids will be home for an evening in the near future – I think the chapter “Who am I and Why Do I Teach” will be the discussion topic. Also, they can arm wrestle to see who gets to read this book first. I highly recommend it!
Please take a moment to learn more about this book here and buy it!.
Volume 1: An Inside Look at the American Public School System as Seen Through the Eyes of Its Most Underrated Player: The Janitor (and Other Musings)
The custodian of a public school is the unseen fly on the wall, the inside observer, and the unexpected philosopher about all that goes on within our troubled school system. A lifetime of experience inside public school as both a student and a worker is compiled into this fascinating read that is half memoir and half social commentary—and wholly unique.
Personal stories cover everything from demanding teachers, unreal messes, and daily frustrations of this overlooked occupation to higher-level musings on the American public school system itself. Lessons can be pulled from each moment—if one is willing to adopt a different perspective.
Outside the neat pages of textbooks, a whole new way of looking at the world awaits. But every day, students and teachers continue their routines without seeing life’s most interesting details or issues. They stop being fascinated by a fish’s ability to breathe underwater, never wonder where the pounds of trash collected every day end up, and don’t have time to truly learn due to limiting state mandates. For many students, the system is simply failing.
This straight-shooting, humorous analysis doesn’t shy away from asking hard questions or exposing day-to-day vexations. The stakes are high—the outcome involves our children’s futures.