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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 49.
- Review Date: 2007-06-11
- Reviewer: Staff
After giving up his advertising job and moving to Santa Fe with his wife, Wilder (Daddy Needs a Drink) decided he needed a day job, so he signed on as an assistant first-grade teacher at a local “alternative” school. Its New Age pedagogy—“pursuing kindness and peace,” counting games with “recycled organic materials,” etc.—was fine, but he was spending most of his time tending a delusional nine-year-old girl, flushing bad boys’ turds down the toilet and coping with hippie parents in denial about their bullying son. So he shifted to teaching seventh grade in a private day school, where there was just the usual preteen wackiness. Some days, so many of his students were “hoisting the middle finger,” a passerby might think he was “teaching a lesson in profanity for the hearing-impaired.” Teaching taught Wilder much about what to avoid, as a parent—especially about not being a “helicopter parent,” obsessively hovering over his kids’ every move. He also learned there are “two sides to this carpe diem coin”—we want our kids to go ahead and try everything, but we’re uncomfortable when our toddlers actually start dancing with the cross-dressers on Halloween. Wilder may be a bit potty-mouthed for the mainstream parenting shelf, but he’s honest and funny. (Aug.)
A+ for laughter
New from the hilarious author of Daddy Needs a Drink comes Tales from the Teachers' Lounge, in which Robert Wilder again masterfully turns his firsthand experience into a narrative that's at once both humorous and moving. This time Wilder takes us into the wacky world of the classroom where a daily conflict takes place between lesson plans and the lessons of real life. "There's nothing in the policy manual... [about] what to do when you see your student sprawled over the hood of a Camero making out," he explains. Competing with television, movies and cell phones isn't easy, and guiding today's students through a maze of books, bullies and bomb threats is tricky business. "Teachers should be more like midwives and less like drill sergeants," Wilder advises. From painful to poignant, these laughter-inducing classroom chronicles are sure to chalk up good grades with educators, parents and even students sneaking a peak into the teachers' lounge. (Hey, if gets them to read, it can't be bad.)