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To Teach: The Journey, in Comics 0th Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 31 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0807750629
ISBN-10: 080775062X
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Quinn is a pudgy and energetic boy, whose enthusiastic embrace of snack time prompts a school administrator to label him hyperactive disordered. His teacher, however, notes, it's too easy to caricature every excitable African-American boy as 'at risk' and goes on to identify Quinn's many strengths and then persistently encourage them. That teacher is Bill Ayers, the school reform activist and a cofounder of the Weather Underground who got so much attention during the Obama campaign. Ayers is all teacher in this graphic novel ode to the power and potential of his profession. Alexander-Tanner's black and white ink drawings show a classroom in full bloom with activity and learning, while Ayers's text offers pointed discussions of what's wrong with the current state of education in this country. Ayers doesn't just present critiques like the one relating to Quinn that labeling students has become an epidemic in our schools; he also shows the methods he uses to develop a permanent readiness for the marvelous in his classroom. With plenty of anecdotal examples, he demonstrates ways of opening up a child's eagerness to learn. This fascinating and, yes, educational book will certainly be of interest to teachers, but it will also teach, inspire, and entertain anyone else who picks it up. (May)
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Review

''[Ayers] understands that schools should be places of great joy where it's OK to be goofy...a delightful book that will make readers smile.'' --Phi Delta Kappan<br \><br \>''A book about what is possible; the educators featured are real people making real magic in real classrooms.'' --Harvard Educational Review

''A book about what is possible; the educators featured are real people making real magic in real classrooms.'' --Harvard Educational Review

''A book about what is possible; the educators featured are real people making real magic in real classrooms.'' --Harvard Educational Review
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Teachers College Press (May 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080775062X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807750629
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this is a great book for new, aspiring teachers to read if they don't like long, wordy novels, are visual people as opposed to linguistic, and is looking for something as a source of inspiration as to why we teach. I definitely highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had an incredibly mixed reaction to this book. On the one hand, it is quite readable and appealing. I agree with many of its points, such as that teachers should love their students, that NCLB and the like do a lot of damage, and that labeling children as ADD and the like is a bad idea. On the surface level, it's encouraging and inspiring. But then I noticed something.

Ayers repeatedly claims that teachers should learn with their students, practice humility, and respect all viewpoints. But that's the sugar coating that disguises a poison pill. Despite his claims that authorities should be rejected, replaced (apparently) with hugs and the inherent wisdom and love allegedly within us all, in reality he pushes an agenda and measures others on how closely they adhere to that agenda.

Notice that the authority figures in this book are presented as annoying fools. Notice that pesky "facts" are disregarded, as when a chemistry teacher is praised for abandoning the table of elements in favor of a study of how diamond mining oppresses poor Africans. Notice that his response to the principal's reading of the pledge of allegiance is to cut the speaker wires.

Despite his denials, Ayers is encouraging teachers to indulge their own egos, to be self-satisfied in their belief that their politics = truth, and to covertly push their world-views on their students. This is not humility, this is hubris. And this is actually not anti-authoritarian at all, it is the replacement of one set of authorities (the status quo) with another that is much more insidious and oppressive. Ayers is not Santa Claus, he's Stalin.

Think I'm exaggerating? Here's what Ayers said in the 1970's, when he managed the Weather Underground's bombing campaign: "Kill all the rich people.
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Format: Paperback
"Greatness in teaching engages students, interacts with them, draws energy and direction from them, and offer reasons to plunge into classroom life. Greatness in teaching is always in pursuit of the next challenge, the next encounter... greatness demands an openness to the new and the unique. For great teachers, it must always be, `Here I go again.'"

Bill Ayer's reworking of his book, To Teach: The Journey, in Comics is a wonderful, inspiring read, reworked into a comic medium (don't call it a genre) with illustrator Ryan Alexander-Tanner. One can only imagine the twists and turns of Ayer's journey from being on the FBI's wanted list as a member of the Weather Underground during the height of anti-Vietnam protests to being a kindergarten teacher and now professor or education.

I first met Mr. Ayers when he keynoted the Humboldt State University inaugural Education Summit. As part of the organizing committee under my then-mentor Eric Rofes, I was gifted with hours of conversations with Mr. Ayers over breakfasts and dinners. He is an amazing storyteller and a wonderful teacher.

Most of the story is about Bill thinking about teaching and about how his children learn. There are great stories about exploration, creativity, perseverance, and wonder.

Sprinkled through out are vignette from other teachers that Bill clearly admires. One such story talks about an elementary school teacher who has her class fill up a bookshelf every year as they learn about something that she, the teacher, knows nothing about. Together the teacher and the students become co-learners, exploring where their collective curiosity leads them.

Another story is about a high school teacher who is trying to "teach a really good kindergarten class with 18-year-olds.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book! It is thought provoking and motivating!! I highly recommend it and I'm sure I will re-read it over and over and over!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It was a great book! It's very touching and gives us a lot of insight about education, labels, and our kids.
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By teacher Tory on February 24, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I had to read this for a college course and never knew how much I would have loved it! The only negative is the kindle version doesn't have a hi lighting or bookmarking option so I had to write notes.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book! So cute and easy to read. Gets the point across and makes you laugh.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Love this book! I definitely recommend this book to all educators.
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