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Pickering, Sam. Letters to a Teacher.

PICKERING, Sam. Letters to a teacher. Grove. 242p. c2004. 0-8021-4227-3. $12.00. SA

Touted as "the teacher who inspired Dead Poets Society," Sam Pickering has been teaching for more than 40 years. Currently this author of 19 books is inspiring students at the University of Connecticut. Letters to a Teacher is addressed to fellow educators, but can be enjoyed by a wider audience. His ten letters cover such diverse topics as: The Teacher's Life, The Good Teacher, Qualities of a Teacher, Words, Interests, Truth, Pressure, Requirements, and Last Thoughts. Intensely personal and passionate, these letters include real and invented stories and words of wisdom from others, such as Kenneth Grahame, Matthew Arnold, Jane Austen, Thoreau, Milton, Wordsworth, and William Hazlitt.

Pickering shares his teaching experiences in Australia and Jordan as well as his days at Dartmouth, where he was faced with a student's public obscenity. He advises his readers not to take his book too seriously. "Read the book. Ponder some things then push it aside and move beyond it. Advice is suggestion ... Don't hold grudges, and forget slights ... If your school system is not unionized, it should be ... Get to know your fellow teachers well ... Whatever you do has the potential to influence someone else's child. If you smoke, you should stop. I preach and urge. I tell students that I do not give good grades to fools, and that anyone who smokes, jaywalks, or rides a bicycle without a helmet cannot make higher than a C in my class." The rest of the letters are in the same vein and the anecdotes are priceless. Wise, amusing, old-fashioned, and inspiring, Pickering is a man to spend time with. Janet Julian, English Teacher, Grafton, MA

KLIATT uses the following codes to help readers determine if the material reviewed is appropriate for this needs:

J--Recommended for junior high school students. The contents are of particular interest to young adolescents and their teachers.

S--Recommended for senior high school students.

A--Recommended for advanced students and adults. This code will help librarians and teachers working in high schools where there are honors and advanced placement students. This also will help extend KLIATT's usefulness in public libraries.
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Author:Julian, Janet
Publication:Kliatt
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Words:362
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