Phillip Done has been a primary teacher for over twenty five years. In Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind, he takes us on a month by month journey through the school year of his third grade.
The book opens in August with the rush to buy school supplies - the teacher, not the students. I had to laugh out loud when he said teachers love school supplies. This is sooo true. My daughter is a teacher and I've been stuffing her stocking with school supplies for years.
There are some fun lists for new teachers with essential pointers. (First graders like to be first in line, love glue and will know more dinosaur names than the teacher.)
Each month is filled with anecdotes from his classroom and the funny things children come out with. Having chaperoned and helped in classrooms, I found stories so true to life. Done's tale of a student losing a shoe in the bear cage on the zoo field trip, the helpful mom who used tanning lotion rather than sunscreen on the kids, yard duty antics , the teacher's most embarassing moment and so much more put a smile on my face so many times throughout my reading.
"Third graders look like little jack-o'-lanterns. Half my kids are missing some of their front teeth."
Done's love of teaching and dedication shines through in every story he tells. He has been nominated for a Disney Teacher of the Year Award, and has won Teacher of the Year honours in California.
My only criticism would be his tendancy to use endearments with female students, such as sweetheart and honey. The opposite is not true of the male students - no interactions using sport, pal or buddy.
One line that stayed with me was in his introduction.
" ... a child may forget what you taught her - but will always remember how you made her feel"
So very true - what teachers do you remember?