by Pete Springer
Pete Springer’s memoir They Call Me Mom (Outskirts Press 2019) about his first years teaching will delight new teachers and have experienced educators nodding along with him. As a teacher, Pete’s early experiences remind me of the joy inherent in teaching:
“This job required about as much brainpower as my tree planting experience.”
“This is the story of how I fell in love with teaching and the joys and challenges that this noble profession provided to me over the course of thirty-one years.”
He breaks the book into chapters every teacher will understand:
- How did i get here
- Setting up your classroom
- Working with students
- Working with colleagues
- Working with your boss
…and more. Aside from grading, parents, lunch duty, conferences, and yard duty, these are the biggest issues teachers face. Even as a veteran teacher of thirty years, I still couldn’t wait to read Pete’s take on these timeless issues.
“Instead of saying, “Do everything my way, and you can become a successful teacher,” she was giving me her permission to find my way.”
“…storytelling was one of the most successful methods to get my students to pay attention.”
“…when we lose our calm, we are teaching them that it is okay to behave in this manner when something is not going right.”Xx
Every new teacher will benefit from Pete’s daily experiences of what in the end results in a journey well traveled with more importance than most of us would care to admit. Educational philosophies change. Favorite tools like iPads and Chromebooks change. What doesn’t is the fundamentals Pete covers in this book:
“…tell the kids when I made similar mistakes growing up.”
“I do think that it is possible for parents or schools to provide too many rewards for kids.”
Overall an excellent book. If you’re a new teacher, I’d call this an essential read prior to your first day.
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection Winter 2022.