With my new position as Instructional Coach, I am constantly looking for tools and resources for my new teachers. Last week I picked up Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class. In 3 hours I put it down, having read every page. After each chapter, I told myself to put the book down and go work on something else. Then I thought, well, just ONE more chapter. That continued until I had the read the entire book. I laughed. I reminisced. I could relate to every story, quote, and situation she presented. This was definitely a book I wanted to share with others. For this review, I will be using the ARTISTIC Critique. See the original article here.
Affirmation: positive assertions
See Me After Class is a clever and witty way to laugh at the craziness that is the first year of teaching. Elden presents a relatable book that is easy to read. The chapters are organized in a way that the reader can read from beginning to end or skip around and her humorous diction makes it feel like you are sitting down with a cup of coffee and a best friend.
Reflection: opinion-based observations
I really enjoyed every part of this book. She humorously discussed the reality of being teacher in the 21st century. I especially liked Chapter 10: No Child Left…Yeah, Yeah, You Know, where she candidly discussed the multiple types of students we encounter and what specifically each needs from us. She is honest throughout and does not sugar coat the often harsh realities of teaching.
Technique: foundational elements
Elder uses a colloquial and pragmatic approach which is very refreshing. This technique allows for readers to read continuously and effortlessly. She also includes multiple quotes from various educators sharing their experiences. She covers topics like maintaining sanity, organization and time management, the teacher personality, parents, principals, fellow teachers, and grading.
Inquiry: questions for the author
I would love to know if she is planning another book that maybe takes a look at the years after the first year. I also received the opportunity to hear her Ted Talk “The Myth of the Super Teacher” and wonder if she has compiled some of the anecdotes in a text yet?
Suggestion: recommendations for the author
Although I love the inclusion of quotes upon quotes from educators, it is quite a large quantity of quotes. It would be nice to have a little more background and context for each of the quotes and maybe some more anecdotal accounts.
Translation: interpretation of author’s intent
It is clear that Elden’s intention was to bring reality to the profession and support new teachers with the things they don’t teach in teacher prep programs. Although the text focuses on teachers new to the profession, it definitely has sound advice for all teachers.
Illation: overall evaluation
Overall this is a great resource for new teachers. It is also a great resource for instructional coaches to share with their teachers.
Create: recreate the work
There needs to be more resources that are candid and honest about the teaching profession. There are so many stories out there to be shared because the truth is, teaching is hard; although it is very rewarding. Many of the texts that we read in school are theoretic based, which doesn’t always help when you are in the classroom.
I recommend Roxanna Elden’s See Me After Class for all teachers both new and returning.
Piquès & Pirouettès
Typhani Harris is a dance educator and mentor teacher who has been on the boards of both the California Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (CAHPERD) and California Dance Education Association (CDEA). Recently, she has made a cross-country move and is now an instructional coach in Brooklyn, New York. Having begun as a high school English teacher, it has been her mission to bring theory and research into the traditional dance class, and in 2009 she won the Music Center’s Bravo award for excellence in Arts Education. Typhani is currently on a mission to help teachers Stop Teaching and Start Reaching their students, check out the unTeacher Lab at stopteaching.org