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Far Away from the Tigers: A Year in the Classroom with Internationally Adopted Children [Kindle Edition]

Jane Katch
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Over the past three decades, more than a quarter of a million children have become citizens of the United States through international adoption. Kindergarten teacher Jane Katch recently found herself with three such children in her class: Katya, born in Russia, Jasper, from Cambodia, and Caleb, from Romania. Each child had spent early years in an orphanage, and each had unique educational and emotional needs. How Katch came to recognize and respond to those needs makes up the journey of discovery in this moving and insightful book.



Interspersing vignettes from the classroom and conversations with the children’s parents, Far Away from the Tigers first explores Katch’s misunderstandings and mistakes as she struggles to help the children adjust to school. As Katch learns more about each child’s preadoption past, she gradually realizes that they were deprived of some basic learning experiences and she needs to find ways to fill those gaps. Before Caleb can learn to read or write, he must improve his verbal skills by learning nursery rhymes, stories, and songs. Katya, who came from an overcrowded orphanage, now needs to be the center of attention; before learning how to form real friendships, she first must gain control over more basic functions such as eating and sleeping. And the youngest, Jasper, needs steady encouragement to play with classmates instead of sitting alone practicing his handwriting.



Slowly, through trial and error and by drawing on the deep understanding and intense commitment of the children’s parents, Katch discovers the importance—and joy—of allowing each child time to develop in his or her own way. Beautifully told, wise, and candid, Far Away from the Tigers is a gift for parents, teachers, and anyone who cares for children growing up in a new home.


Editorial Reviews

Review

“A warm and caring book from a gifted teacher who deeply understands what it means to put her heart, soul, and mind into her teaching. In these times of high-stakes testing, Jane Katch’s holistic approach to working with internationally adopted children and their families provides a compelling counterforce for envisioning what education that deeply meets the diverse social, emotional, and intellectual needs of all children can and should be.”

(Diane E. Levin, author of So Sexy So Soon and Teaching Young Children in Violent)

“This is an important, moving, and beautiful book that shows all of us a unique and powerful method to facilitate young children’s self-discovery and growth. Jane Katch writes with a spare, pure poetry as she tells the delightful, hilarious, and at times terribly sad stories of the adopted children in her class, moving us through a range of emotions and understandings. The great artistry of her writing, her self-reflection and humility, and the way she listens deeply to parents who adopt make this a remarkable book—reading it will leave you changed for the better.”

(Joshua Sparrow, MD, coauthor of the Brazelton Way books)

Far Away from the Tigers is a deeply moving account of the challenges faced by teachers who work with children who have been damaged by the biological and social adversities—neglect, abuse, abandonment—commonly experienced by internationally adopted children. Katch explores those challenges through the stories of three kindergarten-age children and their parents, whose hopes, worries, frustrations, and joys she also reveals. To be sure, this is not a story with a happy-ever-after ending, but it is a story of hope and acceptance: hope that these ‘at risk’ children can make significant progress with supportive and loving parents, and acceptance of these children for who they are, not who their parents and teachers want them to be.”--David M. Brodzinsky, coauthor of Being Adopted and The Psychology of Adoption

(David M. Bodzinsky)

About the Author

Jane Katch teaches at the Touchstone Community School in Massachusetts. She is the author of They Don’t Like Me: Lessons on Bullying and Teasing from a Preschool Classroom and Under Deadman’s Skin: Discovering the Meaning of Children’s Violent Play.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1184 KB
  • Print Length: 176 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (March 15, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004Z14CPO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,436,501 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughts from another teacher April 30, 2011
By Poet
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is rare to find a book about a necessary and compelling subject that utilizes the authentic voices of the children. In Jane Katch's book Far Away from the Tigers, the experience of the children is a necessary part of the narrative voice of the book. Not only is this book useful for parents who are trying to understand the backstory that might impact their adopted child's transition and performance in the classroom, it is invaluable for teachers. Throughout the book, Jane Katch maintains her characteristic respectful and innovative approach to children. By also giving voice to the stories of the parents, she puts the entire foreign adoption experience in a new perspective. This is a book to return to again and again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring --- A "Must Read" April 21, 2011
Format:Hardcover
What a beautiful book and a rare invitation into the classroom and interactions of these young children! This book is a gift to parents and children alike - and should be a "must read" for teachers.

Jane's courage to look within herself and continue to reevaluate, reexamine and learn, even after decades in the classroom and professional acclaim, is an inspiration. She helps us look at children differently. She helps us ask more thoughtful questions (and more of them). She helps us listen more fully.

How lucky are these children to have Jane as a teacher and mentor! And how lucky are we to benefit from her wisdom and experience!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and compelling April 18, 2011
Format:Hardcover
Ms. Katch's empathy and capacity for listening are contagious. Since reading her book, I have found that I am better at asking questions and less attached to my preconceived answers. The scenes in the classroom are beautifully woven with Katch's musings and I love that she is constantly striving to learn from the children, the parents and herself. And we learn with her. This is a must read for any teacher or parent, whether or not they are working with internationally adopted children.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful March 12, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A wonderful book by a gifted teacher and writer on the joys and challenges facing internationally adopted children and their families - and what it's like to be their teacher. With scenes from the classroom and discussions with the parents, the author shares how she came to understand the challenges that her students face, and learned to let them develop at their own pace. Fascinating, warm and wise.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful February 20, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone who is dealing with adoption. It's a lot more interesting than the other adoption manuals I've read. The author did a very good job in trying to understand and meet her pupils' diverse needs. I really hope I get a teacher like that for my future adopted child. I also appreciated the fact that she took the time to follow up on the children and tell us what happened up to a couple of years after they left her classroom.
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More About the Author

In my thirty years of teaching young children, I have found it especially satisfying to look carefully at the issues that challenge me. My most recent book, Far Away from the Tigers, came from my wish to better understand the needs of three puzzling children in my kindergarten class.



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