June 28, 2012 by k. liz
Today I want to share a short review of a book I read just last week. The review is short, because so is the book. I read it in just a few hours. So, here you go . . .
This Urban Teacher’s Journal: A Success Story For All Teachers Who Work In Inner-City Schools is the story of a young teacher just out of University who is looking for her first job as a teacher. For her first experience, she gets a really rough class in an inner-city setting which has already been rejected by two other teachers in the first half of the year. In her first three days of observation, C. Angela understands exactly why this class has been rejected. She had major discipline and family problems to deal with in the particular setting she found herself in. This book, however, chronicles how she was able to experience success in the inner-city school system. She shares several strategies that she employed and also how it was her love that really effected her ability to help her students. At the end of the book, Angela also shares some very relevant research on issues that exist in the American Public School system regarding race and inequality in schools. Angela gives a story of hope and suggestion for how to change and overcome the prejudices and the problems that we have known for so long and how to create an atmosphere of love that will allow students to grow and be successful.
As a critique, I would say that the story is definitely a success story, and while it shares the issues that Angela faced, it sometimes seemed overly optimistic and slightly unrealistic. Angela shares some really good ideas for how to implement changes in a classroom, but she failed to share the gritty details of how difficult that was or wasn’t, and what it was practically like to see the changes through. She shares her action and the outcome, but I was curious about whether or not it was always a seamless transition between the two.
However, I will say that I really enjoyed her layout of the book. She shared personal experience for the first several chapters, some of her suggestions and ideas, but in the last half of the book she presented relevant research and cited several articles concerning inequalities in the American Public School system. I thought it was really helpful for making the book more poignant. It gave me not only inspiration, but also research and facts to help shape my thinking.
Again, this was a really fast read, probably between two and four hours total, but I really enjoyed it. I also liked how Angela focused on the need for love and a heart for your students, and that if that is missing you aren’t really going to be able to touch their lives. I would definitely recommend this book, especially if you are teaching in America. I think it is important for Americans to be made aware of the differences between suburban and urban schools.
Let me know if you have read or are planning to read this book! I’d love to hear your thoughts on it!!