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Nine Weeks: a teacher's education in Army Basic Training

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1449571436
ISBN-10: 1449571433
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Rich currently teaches Education Technology at the University of San Francisco and works as a math and technology coach for a California education consulting firm. While he was teaching high school math in the San Francisco Bay Area he got an itch to serve his community, and joined the Army National Guard in 2007. Part-time soldier quickly became a full-time job. After his initial training Rich mobilized with the California's 69th Public Affairs Detachment and deployed to the Balkans in support of NATO's Kosovo Force. He has written extensively about his experiences on his military blog, "My Public Affairs." As a civilian, Rich has taught and coached at several Bay Area schools. He attended California State University East Bay (previously Hayward), where he met his wife, Esther. He earned his California teaching credential from CSU East Bay and his M.A. in Teaching Mathematics from Western Governors University. A Salt Lake City, Utah native, Rich has been a Californian for the past decade. He lives with his wife, Esther, and their son, Joseph Aniefiok, in Oakland.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Ekot Literary Service (December 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449571433
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449571436
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,644,527 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Basic training is a once in a lifetime experience. There is nothing to compare it to. So it is hard to explain what it is like to those that have never experienced it before. Therefore it is remarkable, the detail and insight that Rich Stowell has managed to capture. With his meticulous journal and letter writing he was able to recreate all the ups and downs, the emotions, the commraderie, and the abdsurdities that make up basic training. His decision to join the Army later in life also adds a unique and insightful perspective of a sometimes frustrating and baffling program. If you want to experience basic training without going to basic training, I highly recommend you read Nine Weeks.
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Format: Paperback
Nine Weeks...for civilians that term used to mean a period in school. For soldiers, Nine Weeks often times can mean nine weeks of the most grueling time in their lives. This book offers a rare glimpse into those weeks as soldiers in the Army struggle to complete basic training.

As civilians we don't often understand or see the hardships these men and women go through except in movies. Mr. Stowell's book, Nine Weeks, gives us a rarely seen honest glimpse into this time as he shares his experiances. It was an interesting book to read and I found it very detailed, well written and honest.

If you're a civilian who has wondered what goes on in a basic training camp then pick this book up. I think it will give many people a newfound respect for those who serve in the Army.
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Format: Paperback
Richard gives an insight into the traditional young boys right of passage that is 'basic training' with a fresh and witty insight that will make you laugh out loud. His experience, as a teacher, grants him a rare perspective on how the Army operates. If you are a Soldier you will be brought back to the best and worst days of your own experience. And if you are a Civilian you will gain a hard to obtain perspective on what the average recruit goes through. I have read this book twice already and delighted in it each time. Rich Stowell has agreed to begin a sequel, possibly called 9 months, that catalogues the experience of his first deployment, if he sells 1000 copies of his book so please people buy this book. The laughs alone are worth your money
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Nothing really groundbreaking in the book, but I think the book set out to be a diary of BCT. I enjoyed it enough, but I would have liked to see more connections between the life of a teacher and the life of soldier.
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Very insightful and extremely well written. Anyone who works with students should read this; one receives an intimate, day-to-day experience with all things military which can only help prepare students for one possible life choice.
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Format: Paperback
NINE WEEKS is an interesting look at BCT from the standpoint of an older, better educated recruit than is the norm in today's all-volunteer army. Stowell was 31, newly married, with a couple of college degrees under his belt when he enlisted, determined to do his duty as a patriotic American. It didn't take him long to wonder if he'd done the right thing or just a very stupid thing. This kind of wondering is pretty typical, actually. I remember having the same second thoughts myself my first time through BCT at age 18, feeling pretty low and hearing other recruits crying in their pillows. Stowell did persevere in his training and also kept a pretty complete record of activities from all ten weeks (that first one, in reception camp, he learned to his dismay, doesn't count). It's not the first time someone's done this. Peter Tauber's 70s memoir, SUNSHINE SOLDIERS, is a classic - and funny - example of this kind of service document - a book that is deservedly back in print recently. Stowell's book is similar, but lacks the sense of humor that marked Tauber's account and made it so memorable. There were a few funny parts in NINE WEEKS, but for the most part, Stowell seemed to take himself and the whole experience just a mite too seriously. Rich Stowell's book updates the BCT experience and could make a useful BCT primer for young men considering enlisting in today's army. I admire him for doing what he did, mostly because he didn't HAVE to do it. He felt it was his duty, and he responded to that. It's unfortunate there aren't more young men like Stowell in a country whose stretched-thin military could certainly use an infusion of more educated recruits. As an eight-year army veteran myself, I will recommend this book to young people who might be swayed toward a life of military service. - Tim Bazzett, author of SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The book, Nine Weeks, by Rich Stowell, was both poignant and frustrating. I could just feel how he felt as he went through the nine, or rather ten weeks of basic training. Luckily, it was written with a great deal of the author's witty asides and with his well developed sense of humor. Although I was a little dismayed that he was so surprised by his training, didn't he watch G.I. Jane? It certainly put it all into perspective for any newbie to the army.

As a student who plans to be a teacher this book really spoke to me. He makes it easy to relate so many things that happened during basic training to being in a classroom with a bunch of new students. The drill sergeants weren't the best role models for a beginning teacher, but perhaps I could learn just as Rich Stowell did from observing his NCOs. I agree with him that the autocratic task-master style of teaching is not the way I would teach.

In another example of how the Army makes it far more difficult to learn, in the first week they had to sit through classes that which as he says, did not include the "erudite lectures, note-taking, question and answer sessions, studying, and tests", that he expected. They were scripted lectures with PowerPoint presentations that had no reason for them. They were not adding anything to the lecture and so were a waste of technology. I learned that the way to keep a class involved and interested was not the Army way. As a teacher he knew how the classes could have been handled so everyone could learn and I am now very conscious of paying attention to use of technology in my teaching.

Although I have no interest in joining the Army, I gained an appreciation for the men and women who do and learned a lot about how I don't want to teach my classes when I get them.
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