A retired English teacher returns to a rural Vermont classroom for a one-year substituting gig. He must find footing on a new educational landscape where a former student is now his principal, classics are pulled from library shelves, research projects are completed online, and a chalkboard is supplemented with an overhead projector. My teaching colleagues and I identified with this humorous memoir, particularly Keizer's anxiety over his students' need for reading support when "they are only two years away from voting" and his "hopes to live out his remaining years in a democracy." — Bonnie Winchester
A New York Times Editors' Choice
"Keizer writes eloquently and perceptively . . . More than just thoughtful, reasonable, carefully observed, elegantly written, and deeply humane, this book is also that rare thing, a work of genuine wisdom."-Chicago Tribune
Perhaps no profession is so constantly discussed, regulated, and maligned by non-practitioners as teaching. The voices of the teachers themselves, however, are conspicuously missing. Defying the trend, teacher and writer Garret Keizer takes us to school in this arresting chronicle of his return to the same rural Vermont high school where he taught fourteen years ago.
Much has changed since then-a former student is his principal, standardized testing is the reigning god, and smoking in the boys' room has been supplanted by texting in the boys' room. More familiar are the effects of poverty, the exuberance of youth, and the staggering workload that technology has done as much to increase as to lighten. At once fiercely critical and deeply contemplative, Getting Schooled exposes the obstacles that teachers face daily-and along the way takes aim at some cherished cant: that public education is doomed, that the heroic teacher is the cure for all that ails education, that educational reform can serve as a cheap substitute for societal reform.
” —The New York Times Book Review
“Keizer writes eloquently and perceptively . . . More than just thoughtful, reasonable, carefully observed, elegantly written, and deeply humane, this book is also that rare thing, a work of genuine wisdom.
” —Chicago Tribune
“Keizer is one curmudgeon who can't be easily written off . . . Getting Schooled prickles with many sharp-toothed observations. This is one of those books in which you find yourself underlining something on nearly every page.
“A graceful essayist . . . Keizer deflates the absurd assumption of the accountability movement, which is that any student-like any teacher-can succeed, if the correct incentives are in place. . . . a fine book.
” —The New York Review of Books
“So much of what Keizer experienced in rural Vermont resonated with my own urban experiences. Every teacher will immediately recognize and enjoy his story. And all who wonder what reforms are needed should start by reading this book.” —Deborah Meier, author of The Power of Their Ideas and In Schools We Trust
“As thoughtful, honest, eloquent, humane, entertaining and useful an account of the complexities of teaching as anything I have seen in years. Though Garret Keizer has wowed us in the past, this is, for my money, his best book. It deserves to become a classic in the literature of American education.” —Phillip Lopate, author of Being With Children
“One of the most vital, beautiful, and human documents I have come across in years, from the finest essayist writing today--a book about the true depths of ordinary days and all that is at stake within our schools. But also about work and youth and advancing age, about resistance and pride and defeat and wit and good intentions. In short, everything, brilliantly knitted into the diary of a schoolteacher in a small northern town.” —Jeff Sharlet, author of Sweet Heaven When I Die
“At once a sympathetic portrait of a school, a searing indictment of a culture that uses working-class children as cannon fodder, and, unexpectedly, a page-turner . . . Jonathan Kozol fans will have a new favorite.” —Publishers Weekly, (starred review)
“Magnificent . . . The book's chief appeal is an overarching surfeit of wisdom and keen perspective . . . Required reading for anyone even remotely involved in education and those who love them.” —Library Journal, (starred review)
“Keizer is a sometimes-sardonic, sometimes-maudlin, always entertaining guide to contemporary high school atmospherics . . . A well-written, yearlong chronicle packed with humor, pathos and valued insights on nearly every page.” —Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)