Letters to a Teacher
Sam Pickering
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Buy *Letters to a Teacher* online

Letters to a Teacher

Sam Pickering
Grove Press
Paperback
256 pages
October 2005
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars
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Sam Pickering once taught a young lad named Tommy Schulman who made himself and his former teacher famous when he wrote Dead Poet's Society. Pickering is not John Keating, though he was the inspiration for the character. This wonderful book of ten essays offers up a bit of what Pickering has learned from decades of teaching.

He believes in drawing a clear line between student and teacher, first of all by proper address. You should be Mr., or Miss, or Mrs. or Coach, for as Pickering says, "They [titles] help define you as someone important, someone worth listening to and obeying." And they help preserve order - for all his sometimes unorthodox teaching methods, like hiding under a desk for an entire hour reading Thoreau to the class, Pickering runs an ordered classroom. Proper grammar is expected, and students know he is their teacher, not their friend, most certainly not their peer.

He has solid thoughts about what makes a good teacher, the teacher's life, requirements and other issues that a teacher encounters every day. His wisdom goes beyond that; in many instances, the word "teacher" could be taken out and another word such as parent, grandparent, CEO, or even politician substituted. The standards apply to any who lead.

The temptation is to use quote after delightful quote to demonstrate what a wonderful read this book is. I will resist that temptation except for one last quote that delights me to no end: "He who wrestleth with a turd shall be beshit, fall he under or over."

I'm going to embroider that on a pillow.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Pamela Crossland, 2005

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