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the missing teacher: a memoir Kindle Edition
|Length: 253 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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Top Customer Reviews
Her account of training into the alternative field of Waldorf schools is very candid. Right from the beginning she shocks the reader with intensely personal anecdotes. The reader sees that Ms. Cox is an introspective person who went through many trials as she took up teaching.
The Waldorf system, sometimes referred to as a cult, is not your standard K-12 curriculum of standardized tests. She was trained in the peculiarities of their own system, which seeks to foster creativity and the spirt. The work was hard, and at times the reader wonders why she preserved. She was thrown into the first grade, and harshly criticized by various coworkers and parents while simultaneously learning to foster her motherly instincts. Any teacher will say it comes with the territory, but to her it seemed particularly harsh. When she lets her guard down, it goes from bad to worse.
Some of the more interesting parts focus on her Thai background and family upbringing, and how that relates to dealing with children and authority figures.
The story is too detailed in some parts. She gives other characters colorful pseudonyms such as Mr. Worm and Mrs. Squirrel, so as not to be identifiable. The children are numbered, #2, #10, and so on. Even in her personal life she calls an ex-boyfriend the unfortunately-labeled Mr. Angry.
Ultimately, she failed. The story is about failure, but it’s also about picking oneself up afterwards and refusing to give up. The fact that she went through the experience actually inspired her to never give up teaching, albeit through different avenues.
Like many first books, it could have been further edited. Sometimes it should have been organized as more of a narrative – though it is nonfiction. Still, memoirs are not easy and the book is a promising first attempt.
A recommended tale for anyone interested in the inner lives of teachers, and anyone who has ever worried they haven’t fit in, whether at work or at life.
It is the story of an idealistic Asian American teacher who lands a job at a Waldorf school, which espouses an art-focused style of learning. Thrilled about the ideals outlined by the founder Rudolf Steiner, she enters her new role with extreme dedication and high expectations.
But the idealistic Waldorf spirit is hard to find in her fellow teachers. Instead she finds a faculty prone to petty backstabbing, gossip, strident and overbearing parents, and short-range, bottom-line thinking. Due to the mob mentality, baseless gossip, and bad luck, parents begin pulling their kids from her class and the school and soon there are calls to have her fired.
While the story alone is fascinating, the memoir is artistically done. Her imagery and figures of speech are beautiful. The way the author builds tension and the pacing are spot-on as storm clouds seem to slowly gather against her.
I found the description of the art-based learning philosophy itself to be intriguing, but the story is also an illuminating study of human or group behavior. Anyone who has ever been a victim of unfair workplace politics will identify strongly with this book.
I am grateful to the author for sharing her experience (without having to go through it myself). It is especially admirable that she is able to tell her story in a way that is not bitter; in fact, her overall interpretation is ultimately forgiving.
I highly recommend this perceptive and beautifully written page turner.