Jul 18 2008

A proud day for me

What’s the #1 selling book in the ‘Classroom Managment’ category of Amazon.com? Give up? Well, as of today, I’m proud to say, it’s my ‘Reluctant Disciplinarian.’ You can have the content for free, however, on YouTube. I posted the workshop I presented at TFA institutes from 1995 to 2004.

Here’s proof of the milestone
amazon rating

Here’s a link to the list if you don’t believe it. (It might drop out of #1 by the time you look, but it will still be up there pretty high, I hope)

It chronicles my first two years of teaching. The first year was pretty bad, which is why, I guess, TFA doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the book. (Though the New York City Teaching Fellows buys a copy for every Fellow) Even though I went on to teach for a long time, I guess there are a lot of CMs who have similarly bad first years and then quit after that year or leave after having a better second year, and TFA doesn’t want to give their critics fuel. I think that giving the ciritcs fuel is OK as long as the book also helps new CMs avoid what happened to me.

Here’s the YouTube player. It’s an hour. If you’re in a rush, just watch parts 3, 4, and 5 for the main points.

One Response

  1. Gary,

    You say, “The first year was pretty bad, which is why, I guess, TFA doesn’t acknowledge the existence of the book.” All I know about TFA is what I read in the blogs, so maybe I am way off base here, but I do have an idea about why your book is ignored. I think they ignore your book because it is heresy, not because you had a bad year. Correct me if I’m wrong, but here’s my thinking.

    I would expect that the leadership of TFA is basically a part of the educational establishment, and therefore shares its mindset. I will call it the “ed school mindset”, and trust that that term has at least some meaning to most readers of your blog. A mindset can be a powerful influence, and a powerful limitation. A central feature of the ed school mindset, I believe, is that it is more of an ideology than a body of knowledge. Those sharing this mindset are simply not attuned to classroom realities. They haven’t been for a hundred years, so they’re not going to be quick to change. They judge any ideas, thoughts, or writing in terms of it’s adherence to the ideology. This is probably mostly unconscious, but that only makes it all the more powerful and limiting.

    When a teacher says “I had a bad first year” I would expect those with the ed school mind set would be sympathetic, at least at first. However that can quickly change. Those with an ed school mindset naturally want to attribute that bad year to not supporting and following their ideology. One doesn’t have to read very far into your book to discover you are a heretic. You don’t support the ideology. I don’t think you directly attack the ideology, so much as you simply move away from it. By describing what didn’t work, and then what you found that does work, you move into ideas and conclusions that at best they are not attuned to and thus are meaningless, and at worst are offensive to them.

    Is your book based on research, they would ask, or just personal experience? Well, then we can dismiss it (especially if it irritates us). Or course “research” in the ed school mind set will be defined in ways to support the ideology. They are very fond of saying “research shows . . . . . .”

    How do we change this ed school mindset? Beats the heck out of me. But keep at it. You’ve had more success than anyone else I know about.

About this Blog

By a somewhat frustrated 1991 alum

Region
Houston
Grade
High School
Subject
Math

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