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Tales from the Teachers' Lounge: An Irreverent View of What It Really Means To Be a Teacher Today Hardcover – August 28, 2007

3.4 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

After giving up his advertising job and moving to Santa Fe with his wife, Wilder (Daddy Needs a Drink) decided he needed a day job, so he signed on as an assistant first-grade teacher at a local alternative school. Its New Age pedagogy—pursuing kindness and peace, counting games with recycled organic materials, etc.—was fine, but he was spending most of his time tending a delusional nine-year-old girl, flushing bad boys' turds down the toilet and coping with hippie parents in denial about their bullying son. So he shifted to teaching seventh grade in a private day school, where there was just the usual preteen wackiness. Some days, so many of his students were hoisting the middle finger, a passerby might think he was teaching a lesson in profanity for the hearing-impaired. Teaching taught Wilder much about what to avoid, as a parent—especially about not being a helicopter parent, obsessively hovering over his kids' every move. He also learned there are two sides to this carpe diem coin—we want our kids to go ahead and try everything, but we're uncomfortable when our toddlers actually start dancing with the cross-dressers on Halloween. Wilder may be a bit potty-mouthed for the mainstream parenting shelf, but he's honest and funny. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“Honest and funny.”—Publishers Weekly

From the Hardcover edition. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385339275
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385339278
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,068,790 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Wilder was born on Long Island but raised with his three brothers in Westport, Connecticut, a country block away from Martha Stewart. He has worked as a gas station attendant, dishwasher, factory worker, landscape grunt, grass cutter, lackey, busboy, waiter, concession stand clerk, housepainter, soccer camp director, dog show researcher, fundraiser, and advertising executive. He now lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Robert Wilder is the author of two critically acclaimed books of essays: Tales From The Teachers' Lounge and Daddy Needs a Drink. He has published essays in Newsweek, Details, Salon, Parenting, Creative Nonfiction, Working Mother and numerous anthologies. He has been a commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, the Madeleine Brand Show, On Point and other national and regional radio programs including the Daddy Needs a Drink Minute which aired weekly on KBAC FM. Wilder's column, also titled "Daddy Needs A Drink," was printed monthly in the Santa Fe Reporter for close to a decade. He was awarded the inaugural 2009 Innovations in Reading Prize by the National Book Foundation. Wilder lives and teaches in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Visit his website at www.robertwilder.com.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Like a previous reviewer, I had to quit this book. Chapter four was my limit. Maybe if I'd finished I might have gotten SOMETHING out of this gutter-language, gutter-thinking book, but I didn't want to be dragged through the crap (excuse me), in-between. The author is lauded on the back cover, and I was fooled by people who should know a lack of quality when they see it.

Actually, this is my re-write of my Amazon review of this book because I originally quoted some of the author's language (even broken with dashes, which usually passes) and Amazon found it so offensive they wouldn't publish the review. This alone gives you an idea of what I am referring to. Maybe I can get away with saying there are too many "F" and "S" words, but that's being too mild.

Philosophically, the author views professional teachers (of which he is one) as being in the "education game" (p. 18), which he also refers to as the "saddest pleasure called teaching" (p.30).

Up to Chapter Four, at least, he writes about abnormal situations and such students and thinks we readers (many who will be teachers) should consider this interesting or humorous. I sense his moral compass is wobbly and unnecessarily pointing south. I found no sense of altruism; instead, I was struck by his negativity. I know I only read four out of twenty-four chapters, but an author sets the tone of his/her book early on, and this one is offensive (as one previous reviewer wrote).

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Format: Hardcover
Rob Wilder has a wicked pen. He skewers everyone--students, teachers, friends, family, and above all himself--with a biting sarcasm, but also with grace and humor. Reading him, you have the feeling that if he got ahold of you, he'd show all your foibles, but it wouldn't really sting. He'd have you dead to rights, and all you could do would be laugh. That and moan perhaps, at Wilder's exposure of the educational and social subtleties of the classroom, the underbelly of today's schools.

"Never give a Wilder a microphone or a podium," the author says. "Like an infomercial, we'll be on all night." That's fine with me, because I'll be up laughing. Wilder outdoes himself with his versions of student retellings of books often taught in high school: The Great Gatsby, Hamlet, Song of Myself, One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, and others. Brilliant. I wish, in the tenth grade, I'd had a teacher half as devoted, humane and funny as Rob Wilder.
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Format: Paperback
I'm an elementary school teacher, and I enjoy reading the expereinces of those teachers who are fortunate enough to be able to get thier stories in print. Ron Clark's books, while self-congratulatory, have some value. Dan Brown's 'The Great Expectations School' was one of the most realistic tales on education that I've read yet. I've found authors such as Phillip Done to be quite entertaining, and that was what I was hoping to find here, particularly since this book occupied the same shelf at the bookstore as the above authors. 'Tales From the Teachers' Lounge' was not in any way eye-opening, helpful or even entertaining.

Irreverent, yes. Crude...oh, yes. You'd imagine someone who believes himself a talented writer could come up with better descriptons than the awful metaphors Wilder relies on. Perhaps my largest problem with this book was that it rarely discussed the field of teaching. There were a few anecdotes about students and co-workers, most of whom are fat and bad dressers. He also complains about inservices and internal politics at his school, but the teaching content was not strong enough to actually say the book was "about" teaching. There was just as much, if not more included about Wilder's family and his own childhood. Aside from the vulgar language, this was my biggest problem with the book. Yes, there is an audience for Wilder's humor, but it should not be marketed in the "education" area of the bookstore or in search engines because this book is in no way about education.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Mr. Wilder's book is chock full of funny and creative metaphorical comparisons. However, there are few moments of serious introspection. For the most part, his memoir is a light, whimsical compilation of misadventures in the teaching world. In one chapter (pages 66-76 in paperback edition), the author either fails to recognize or felt it wasn't important to elaborate that two, "eccentric" outcasts in one of his classes were clearly Asperger (high-functioning autism) kids. The stories of dealing and observing these two students were very funny, but also a missed opportunity to educate the reader about autism. And that is the crux of Mr. Wilder's book. Lots of laughs if you like your humor somewhat caustic, but chances are you won't walk away from this volume being more enlightened about the teaching profession. This type of humor isn't for everyone. I found the book enjoyable and a nice, brief distraction from more serious works.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Rob Wilder's latest book is an up-close look at the life of a school teacher. Very funny and at times very poignant, Tales . . . tells us much about Wilder's own experiences in the classroom and about that rare mix of humor, drama, knowledge of one's subject matter, and love of kids that makes a great teacher. I recommend it highly!
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