Books: See Me After Class -- Again!
Roxanna Elden's bestselling book, See Me After Class, is out in a second edition and so this seems like a good time to interview her about all that's happened since she first appeared here in 2010 when the book came out (and what goodies and advice has been added):
Best (or worst) experience doing publicity or giving talks for the book?
RE: The best experience has been teachers who say the book pulled them back from the edge of quitting. The worst was getting stuck on a plane next to someone who had watched "Waiting for Superman" and wanted to lecture me about what teachers are doing wrong during the whole flight. (I had the window seat.)
What do you know now that you wish you'd known in 2009?
RE: The dial of change vs. stability in education needs to be monitored carefully. Change can be good, but chaos and upheaval are bad.
What's the biggest change between now and then for teachers?
RE: Today’s new teachers are starting their careers in a highly charged political climate that in some cases pits newer teachers against more experienced would-be mentors. On top of this, rookies’ every move is being monitored for “effectiveness” data, which creates pressure not only to become successful teachers but to be successful from day one.
What's the biggest myth or persistent misconception about teachers out there?
RE: The rookie super-hero teacher who doesn’t need sleep, doesn’t need to cooperate with her colleagues, and doesn’t need experience because she’s figured out that the secret to teaching is showing kids that she cares.
Take a stand: Team TFA or Team Ed School?
RE: Both. Or neither, depending on how you look at it. I wrote the book because teachers get lots of good information in training, but much of it is easier said than done, especially for people faced with a non-stop series of judgment calls they’ve never had to make before.
What do the kids/teachers/parents think about your book?
RE: Teachers at my school have been very supportive. I usually don’t tell students that I’ve written a book until the end of the year. Then I do a one-day workshop on the publishing industry and what it’s like to try to build a career as a writer.
Why so long between editions?
RE: As much as things have changed in education, new teachers still have the same need for honesty, humor, and practical advice as they always did - and it’s still hard to find.
What's the question you never get asked but really wish you did?
RE: How would reading "See Me After Class" have affected your career as a new teacher?
What's the answer?
RE: I would have enjoyed my early days of teaching more, which would have benefited my students. It wasn’t a great experience for them to have a teacher whose emotional rubber band was almost always stretched to its breaking point. Then again, if my first year had gone well I probably wouldn’t have written a book.