No Teachers Left Behind

no-teachers-cover2

No Teachers Left Behind
Author: HBF Teacher
Publisher: 2nd Avenue Publishing
Rating:

Reviewed by: Cheryl Malandrinos

 

If you want to take a scary and sometimes funny–if it weren’t so real–trip through the day-to-day life of middle school teachers, then pick up a copy of No Teachers Left Behind by Hopeful But Frustrated Teacher (HBF Teacher).

Join Sixth Grade teachers Sandra Wyatt and Marcus Watts, Seventh Grade teachers Sonya Harte and Gail Jenkins, Eighth Grade teacher Angela Williams, and the other teachers, administrators and support staff at fictional Vilyon Middle School for a glimpse into the daily life of teachers in America’s public school system.

Frustrated, by overpaid administrators whose decisions lack common sense and place the “needs” of students ahead of everything else–including necessary discipline and safety issues, the teaching staff at Vilyon Middle School can’t even seem to get support from the support staff. The head custodian expects them to make sure unruly and unmanageable students don’t destroy the bathrooms; while unsupportive parents point to teachers as the problem behind their children’s lack of academic success.

Told through a series of scene excerpts, poems, and email exchanges, No Teachers Left Behind portrays some of the challenges facing American public schools today; and it leaves the reader wondering if these types of things occur in every school district in America.

My opinions on this book are mixed because I approach it both as a parent and as someone who volunteers in local public schools. I’ve watched while budget cuts have left teachers counting the number of photocopies they make each day, while perfectly useable equipment is replaced with newer models. I’ve heard the cries of large class sizes, but have heard stories of teachers not wanting parents in their classrooms.

The administrators are out of touch with reality in this book, and the majority of students and all the parents are portrayed in an unflattering light. Most of the students are more interested in making drug deals, getting their teachers suspended, and getting it on, than performing well academically; and the parents fault the teachers, not themselves, for any problems that arise.

The author’s passion for this subject is evident. While I didn’t think I would care for the format at first, I found it very easy to follow the various email communications and scenes to their shocking and tragic conclusion. The language is a bit crude in places, but mostly appropriate when used. The one thing I didn’t quite understand was the cover art; but I thought the rolling prairie might be symbolic of the less complicated days of educating children in one-room classrooms, before government legislation and mandatory testing dictated how educators taught their students.

No Teachers Left Behind is one of those books that will leave you thinking about the state of things long after you’ve turned the last page.

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6 Comments

Filed under contemporary fiction, Fiction, realistic fiction

6 responses to “No Teachers Left Behind

  1. Kurt Niemi

    As a parent of two school-aged children, this is definitely a book that I would be interested in reading.

  2. Pingback: Pump Up Your Book Promotion’s May Authors on Virtual Book Tour - Day 2 « Pump Up Your Book Promotion Virtual Book Tours

  3. What I was thinking is that (now keep in mind I have not read the book) the author was giving examples we might not know about but it doesn’t include the whole scheme of things as I’m sure not all bad happens all the time, but I’m thinking that the author wanted to bring to light some things we might not know about. So maybe she didn’t mean to come off as portraying the kids, parents and school system as ogres all the time, but just wanted to let us know what has gone on (or could go on..is this fiction) to make us become aware of it? I’m taking it that she is a teacher? Maybe these are things she has seen and by going anonymous protects her job, yet she is also acting as a messenger between the seedy side of things and the way we as ordinary parents see things to help us open our eyes?

  4. You’re probably right, though there is one student who is interested in learning. This book definitely gives an inside view into teaching that none of us outsiders could even imagine exists.

    I was actually telling a friend of mine from church about the book. She has been a teacher for over 30 years and she said she would love to read it.

  5. Thanks for the review of NO TEACHERS LEFT BEHIND and the engaging discussion. I wrote the novel with the hope of letting readers see inside the daily lives of a frustrated middle school staff. These are teachers and staff members who share a common goal of the utmost importance. They want to prepare the youth of today for the challenges of tomorrow. As they work to achieve these goals, they are often hindered by uncontrollable factors. In NO TEACHERS LEFT BEHIND, these unmanageable factors include parents, students, teachers, and administrators. As a teacher, do I believe that there are some parents, students, teachers, and administrators who are ogres? I have met a few, but do I believe all parents, students, teachers, and administrators are ogres? I do not. Supportive parents and administrators and motivated students can be a teacher’s greatest resource. On the other hand, parents and administrators, who are unsupportive, and students, who could care less, are a teacher’s worse nightmare. Hopefully after reading NO TEACHERS LEFT BEHIND, readers – the teachers, the parents, the administrators, the community members and perhaps even the students themselves – will honestly reflect and see where they fit in the picture of American education.

  6. A fun read that I am sure all will enjoy. Thank you so much for sharing

    Barry

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