Learn Me GoodA lovely, gentle non-fiction account of the career change of Jack Woodson, who was a thermal design engineer for four years until he was laid off.  He decided to get his teaching credentials, and landed a job teaching 3rd graders in a downscale, under-served section of his Texas city.  

He gives us the account of his first year teaching through the device of emails to a friend, a former coworker at his old company.   The chapters are titled in the Subject:  section of the email, and he always signs off with some clever reference to the events in the email.

As far as I can determine, this is a semi-fictionalized telling of his first year teaching,  because as he says in the intro:

This book was inspired by real experiences.  A few details have been altered or embellished, and some of the events have been reorganized for the purpose of pacing, but very little has been made-up, in regards to the kids.  Nearly everything that I write about did actually happen at some point.

The ’emails’ are funny, witty even, pun-filled, and display a concern and caring for the kids in his charge that we are afraid only exists in fairy tales.  A male teacher for grammar school grades is a rarity, and it would seem he is quite a good one.

Throughout his school year, we get to know his students — the good, the bad and the whacky,   and find ourselves rooting on the sidelines for them to do well on the seemingly-endless series of standardized tests they must take.   We are introduced to some of his fellow (and sister) teachers, about whom he is always unfailingly respectful.

A lovely, gentle, book, with chapters that are just like lay’s potato chips — really, you can’t eat … I mean READ …. just one.  and you are sorry when you get to the end of the book.  But fear not, there’s a sequel:  Learn Me Gooder.


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