The Art of Teaching Children

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A book review of The Art of Teaching Children: All I Learned From a Lifetime in the Classroom by Phillip Done

A book review of The Art of Teaching Children: All I Learned From a Lifetime in the Classroom by Phillip Done

Stars: *****

Simon & Schuster (2022)
464 pages

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Summary: An essential guide for teachers and parents that’s destined to become a classic, The Art of Teaching Children is one of those rare and masterful books that not only defines a craft but offers a magical reading experience.

After more than thirty years in the classroom, award-winning teacher Phil Done decided that it was time to retire. His days of teaching schoolchildren may have come to an end, but a teacher’s job is never truly done, and he set out to write the greatest lesson of his career: a book for educators and parents that would pass along everything he learned about working with kids. The result is this delightful and insightful teaching bible, The Art of Teaching Children. From the first-day-of-school jitters to the last day’s tears, Done writes about the teacher’s craft, classrooms and curriculums, the challenges of the profession, and the reason all teachers do it—the children.

Drawing upon decades of experience, Done shares sound guidance, time-tested tips, and sage advice: Real learning is messy, not linear. Greeting kids in the morning as they enter the classroom is one of the most important parts of the school day. If a student is having trouble, look at what you can do differently before pointing the finger at the child. Ask yourself: Would I want to be a student in my class? When children watch you, they are learning how to be people, and one of the most important things we can do for our students is to model the kind of people we would like them to be.

Done tackles topics you won’t find in any other teaching book, including Back to School Night nerves, teacher pride, lessons that bomb, the Sunday Blues, Pinterest envy, teacher guilt, and the things they never warn you about in “teacher school” but should, like how to survive lunch supervision, recess duty, and field trips. Done also addresses some of the most important issues schools face today: bullying, excessive screen time, unsupportive administrators, the system’s obsession with testing, teacher burnout, and the ever-increasing demands of meeting the diverse learning needs of students.

With great wit and wisdom, first-rate storytelling, and boundless compassion, The Art of Teaching Children is the definitive guide to educating today’s young learners and the perfect resource for teachers and parents everywhere.

The Art of Teaching Children

I’m not a teacher in a school but I’m a homeschool teacher and I’ve done co-op in schools and helped as a lunch aide and I was a Girl Guide leader so I’m used to working with kids. I thought this book might have some insight applicable to a homeschool teacher and I was right.

Although all of it is aimed at a school teacher, some of it was still applicable. The section on reading aloud is the best read aloud advice I’ve seen and I’ve been reading whole books on the subject lately. Even the sections that don’t apply to homeschoolers like were interesting to read. The whole book was captivating.

I wish I had taken copious notes to share with you here but I had to return it to the library and didn’t think to make notes. So much of it was uplifting and some of it was helpful. It was a fun read and has TONS of great advice for teachers.

If you are a teacher or intend to become one you definitely need to read this book. But if you teach in unconventional ways, I think you will enjoy this book too. I highly recommend it.

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About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.