Thursday, October 29, 2009

Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind - Phillip Done

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?


fredamans said...

I remember my grade 2 teacher, Mrs. Avduolos. Even as a grown woman, if I see her at the mall, she still remembers me, and is always the same image I knew.

bermudaonion said...

The book sounds great! I was lucky enough to have several great teachers. My second grade teacher, Mrs. Woods was wonderful. I think the teacher who impacted me the most was my 11th grade English teacher, Mrs. Galvin. She was tough on us because she loved us.

Pam said...

Hey, I was a political science major and then a project manager and I STILL love school supplies...(I'm now a preschool teacher so that might discredit my argument a little bit...)

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

Speaking of using honey.. I am so guility of calling all my darn students honey.. It just comes out hahah. But I do it equally to the sexes.. Especially to my 2nd graders who I am still learning their names since I just met them a couple weeks ago and see them once a week and usually just the back of their heads!

avisannschild said...

The person who reviewed the book on my blog had the same criticism as you do!

I will link to your review.