I'm the Teacher, You're the Student: A Semester in the University Classroom

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ISBN-13: 978-0812218879
ISBN-10: 0812218876
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"An honest book, but not a bleak one. Allitt writes that he loves teaching and inevitably grows fond of his students over a term. Those feelings come through, as does his passion for American history. . . . Consistently engaging and enlightening."—Philadelphia Inquirer



"With a friendly intimacy, he invites the reader into his classroom, offering a rare glimpse into one of the most closely guarded spaces of the academy. . . . A wonderful model for anyone seeking guidance on the craft of teaching in higher education; highly recommended."—Library Journal



"A wonderful book. I heartily recommend it and tip my hat to the author."—Metromagazine



"A model for bridging the gap between being a teacher and a learner. It makes a significant contribution to the literature on teaching as a self-reflective model."—Teachers College Record



"Charming, and compelling."—Wall Street Journal

From the Publisher

Patrick Allitt is Professor of U.S. History at Emory University, where he holds the Arthur Blank Chair for Teaching Excellence. He supervises workshops for Emory faculty interested in improving effective teaching skills. His previous books include Religion in America Since 1945: A History and Catholic Converts: British and American Intellectuals Turn to Rome.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press (July 27, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812218876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812218879
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #744,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Eric F. Facer on September 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Professor Allitt has written an entertaining book that will delight almost anyone who has had the privilege of a liberal arts education at an American university. The book is organized around a single semester of the professor's class on post-bellum U.S. history. He provides a lecture-by-lecture account of his teaching experience, with enjoyable digressions on the various issues that are the joy and bane of a teacher's life-tardy students, lazy students, students who have yet to master the fundamentals of English grammar, and, every so often, that diamond in the rough who writes cogently and provides a fresh perspective on a complex issue.

There are three things, however, that set Mr. Allitt apart from so many of his colleagues. First, while chastising his students for their mistakes-one of my favorites is the student who wrote about Teddy Roosevelt who, after charging up San Juan Hill, went on to lead the United States through the Depression and the Second World War-he is quite empathetic, patient and forgiving. He is quick to praise them when they do well. And instead of simply railing against the inadequacies of today's college students, he is quick to note the many demands on their time and the pressures they are under.

Second, he is not above second guessing his own judgments and wondering if there isn't a better approach to solving a problem than the one he has chosen.

And third, he employs a somewhat unorthodox teaching style. He employs certain techniques- such as requiring students to draw on a blackboard some of the objects that are part of the day's history lesson (e.g., a locomotive)-that are at once quaint but also quite effective.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Daria Snadowsky on April 1, 2005
Format: Paperback
I had the honor of taking two of Dr. Allitt's classes during my undergraduate time at Emory University--and I can tell you firsthand that "I'm the Teacher, You're the Student" is just as amazing, inspiring and absorbing as his classroom lectures. I am so touched that Dr. Allitt, who has authored many wonderful books that teach history, took the time to write a book *about* teaching history. Prior to this, I never thought the day-to-day minutia of class discussions, slide-show presentations and grading papers was important enough to warrant academic discourse; indeed, Dr. Allitt chronicles these and many other aspects of the teaching process with the same fascinating and illuminating attention to detail he uses when expounding upon the Spanish-American War and the history of train travel. I read the whole work in one euphoric sitting, and the entire time I felt both cradled by Dr. Allitt's deep care for students and challenged to read and question and understand as much as I can about the world. The book's writing style matches his teaching style--entertaining, thorough, witty, and satisfying. "I'm the Teacher, You're the Student" is a MUST-read for any kind of teacher, no matter what the grade level, no matter what the subject or setting. It is also a MUST-read for any kind of student, especially those who are in college or contemplating it. And if you love history, make sure this book is in your immediate future.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Diane M. Davidson on September 4, 2004
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Professor Allitt offers an edifying and entertaining look into what actually transpires within the classroom of one of America's leading universities. He exposes, in painful detail, students' lack of geographical knowledge (being unable to fill in all fifty states on a map of the U.S.), their confusion over historical figures (conflating Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt), and, most painfully, their inability to express themselves in clear writing. And yet the reader can feel how much Professor Allitt loves these pupils...and revels in teaching them. He enthusiastically exposes them to the history of our country, tries (in vain, it would seem) to teach them to express themselves, and forces on them an accountability for their assignments that is sorely lacking in many American academic environments. In addition to all this, he has written a book that is impossible to put down. When I finished it, I ordered 5 more copies to give to friends.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By klavierspiel VINE VOICE on October 16, 2004
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From the pen of a senior professor of history at Emory University comes this entertaining and readable chronicle of a semester in a college classroom. Patrick Allitt's students in his introductory American history course are bright, well-to-do and in the upper echelon of college students today, which makes their frequent foibles all the more distressing. To anyone who teaches or who has taught at the university level, Allitt's descriptions of their frequently terrifying ignorance of basic American culture, let alone English grammar, will raise rueful and knowing smiles. To his credit, Allitt is willing to put himself in their shoes, describing his struggles with an introductory Spanish course which he took in Spain in painfully vivid detail. From this experience he professes to have gained some sympathy for the difficulties many of his students must encounter as first-time learners. Still, that doesn't prevent him from liberally quoting howlers from his weaker students' papers and exams, and describing incidents that do not put them in a particularly flattering light. Occasionally his unsparing depictions made this reader uncomfortable--how much prior consent did he obtain from his subjects, who frequently are made to look foolish, to say the least? The book also reflects the structure of the typical semester, in that as it approaches its end the writing is marred by seeming haste and skimped detail. Overall, though, this is a well-written and engrossing popular chronicle, though I doubt it will add anything to Allitt's scholarly reputation.
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