THE BATTLE FOR ROOM 314
by Ed Boland
The author left his twenty year career as a nonprofit executive with a great salary to follow a dream to teach school. Before he resigned from his position, he took teaching classes at night to get his teaching certificate. He was hired to teach in a tough New York City public high school. When you are in college studying education, you take a lot of theory classes, how to write lesson plan classes, etc. However, classes rarely inform you how to handle extreme student behaviors and problems. You generally learn these things from veteran teachers or by your own ingenuity. Mr. Boland struggled trying to teach children who were homeless, selling drugs to support their families, hungry and poor. He tells his story with humor and insight but it is heartbreaking to hear how so many of these students read at an elementary school level and can barely write a coherent sentence. How can one teacher possibly help 30 at risk students? According to his book, Mr. Boland tried many innovative (and successful) lessons. The students were a tough lot though and acted out in class or didn't show up at all and he found it difficult to ascertain if they were learning anything. Many teachers and administrators don't last long in these difficult schools. Boland had hoped to make a difference for kids but found it so challenging and draining that when his old boss called him to come back to his former job, he accepted. This book was quite eye-opening and should be read by people making decisions about curriculum and graduation tests. No child can learn if they are not safe, looked after, fed, clothed and given motivation by parents to excel at school. Every child in the United States should be able to receive a quality education but for many that is not the case. In the back of the book Mr. Boland gives ideas on how to improve education.
This is an important book to read!
Reviewed by Mimi @ Genoa Branch Library