Sunday, November 30, 2008

Book Review: 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny

A few weeks ago, I got an email from an author named Phil Done. When I checked out his website, I learned that we have several things in common. We are both musicians, and former public school teachers- and we both had to catch up on piano skills we missed as kids! We did not have in common the presitgious awards he has won, and the fact that he has written a book! (It seems so daunting!)

Phillip Done was born in San Jose, California, and grew up in Sunnyvale. Phil earned his Bachelors of Music and Masters in Education from San Jose State University. He has taught elementary school for twenty years, mostly in California public schools. Phil received the Schwab Foundation Distinguished Teacher Award and was nominated for the Disney Teacher of the Year Award. When he is not teaching, Phil enjoys studying languages, going to garage sales, collecting old movie posters, and learning how to play the piano (He never practiced when he was a kid).

His book,
32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching, is refreshing, funny, and touching from a parent's perspective as well as a teacher's. Phil says:

I am a teacher... -I take slivers out of fingers and bad sports out of steal the bacon. -I know the magic word. -I plan lessons while shaving, showering, driving, eating and sleeping. -I pray for snow days. -I hope April Fools Day is on Saturday. -I hate glitter...

Phil's tone in this book highlights the joys and challenges of teaching with humor and love. This is the kind of teacher you long for your child to have, and it gives a parent faith that teachers really are after the best for your "little Johnny" (the pet name of teachers for the hypothetical child)

In a chapter called "The Looks" Phil describes the five "looks" every teacher must master. Here are a few.

  • The Raised Eyebrow: Raise both eyebrows as high as you can. Do not speak. Keep your head perfectly still. Stare at the child for five to ten seconds.
  • The Chin Down: Tilt your head down till it touches your chest. Your lips will automatically pucker up a bit as you lower your chin. Raise your eyebrows, and cock your head slightly to the left.
I see you practicing! I've given every one of those looks when I was a teacher. This book would be wonderful as a teacher gift, and I guarantee it will end up being passed around the teachers' lounge accompanied by raucous laughter!

I'm giving it 4 presents for Teacher Gift Extraordinaire

No comments: