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Notes from a Classroom: Reflections on Teaching [Hardcover]

By Kay McSpadden (Author)
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Item description for Notes from a Classroom: Reflections on Teaching by Kay McSpadden...

Kay McSpadden's classroom in rural York, South Carolina is windowless, water-stained, gray - and the scene of something amazing. Inside, slackers stay late to wrestle with Socrates. A teenage mother discovers Shakespeare. And a shy special ed student wins applause for powerful public speaking. In Notes from a Classroom, McSpadden introduces her unforgettable students. She chronicles their encounters with literature. And she shares what she's learned in 30 years of trial (and error!) in the classroom: How to turn teen diffidence, bravado and apathy into a lifelong passion for learning. Published originally in the Charlotte Observer or delivered as radio addresses for Charlotte's NPR affiliate, the 72 essays collected in Notes from a Classroom offer a wealth of wisdom for teachers, parents and anyone who works with teens. An epilogue, "Socrates Eats School Lunch," chronicles the joys and challenges of teaching students to think critically. And a special bonus section, "Books for the Examined Life," offers readers a chance to confront the great literary questions - and invites them to come up with answers of their own.

Publishers Description
Kay McSpadden's classroom in rural York, South Carolina is windowless, water stained, gray ? and the scene of something amazing. Inside, slackers stay late to wrestle with Socrates. A teenage mother discovers Shakespeare. And a shy special ed student wins applause for powerful public speaking. In Notes from a Classroom, McSpadden introduces her unforgettable students. She chronicles their encounters with literature. And she shares what she's learned in 30 years of trial (and error ) in the classroom: How to turn teen diffidence, bravado and apathy into a lifelong passion for learning.

From Publishers Weekly
The latest in a recent spat of from-the-trenches teacher memoirs, this one is notable for McSpaddens clear-eyed understanding of teenagers, and her compassion for the underprivileged students she works with everyday. A collection of McSpaddens biweekly columns in The Charlotte Observer, these 70-some pieces share a knack for the well-observed detail, be it the sadness of a young man reciting a Sara Teasdale poem that quiets a class of wriggly sophomores, or the startling significance of a students note, placed among a student exhibit of photos they took of their homes, reading We dont got a camera. Sorry. Though it suffers when McSpaddens attention turns away from her classroom to other, more sentimental topics, and the brevity of unexpanded newspaper columns can wear thin when reading straight through, most of these snappy lessons feature plenty of hard-earned wisdom, gentle humor and memorable student portraits. (Nov.)Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Notes from a Classroom: Reflections on Teaching by Kay McSpadden has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • School Library Journal - 11/01/2007 page 162
  • Library Journal - 12/10/2007

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Item Specifications...

Studio: C. D. Stampley Enterprises
Pages   317
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.5" Width: 6.06" Height: 1.2"
Weight:   1.22 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Jan 4, 2008
Publisher   C. D. Stampley Enterprises
ISBN  1580871313  
ISBN13  9781580871310  

Availability  2 units.
Availability accurate as of May 30, 2017 09:30.
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More About Kay McSpadden

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Kay McSpadden is a columnist for the Charlotte Observer and the author of Notes from a Classroom: Reflections on Teaching. She teaches high school English in South Carolina.

Kay McSpadden currently resides in Rock Hill, in the state of South Carolina. Kay McSpadden was born in 1956.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Philosophy & Social Aspects
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
3Books > Subjects > Professional & Technical > Education > Lesson Planning

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Reviews - What do customers think about Notes from a Classroom: Reflections on Teaching?

Honest and Riveting Look into Teaching and Learning  May 11, 2008
Kay McSpadden writes eloquently and honestly about her experience teaching in a rural South Carolina high school. As a teacher myself I can empathize with the trials and triumphs she endures and in times when "the job" feels tough, Kay McSpadden's words spur me on and remind me why I chose this honorable profession to begin with. Whether it's convincing her students to embrace the joy of English literature, encouraging the shy boy to have his voice heard or instilling her faith in the conviction that ALL students can achieve, Kay McSpadden makes teachers proud to be teachers, convinces students that EVERYONE has the capacity to learn and reminds parents that learning often comes in different and unique ways. A must read for anyone who understands that education is empowering.
You Will Want More Than One Copy!  Feb 9, 2008
I enjoyed reading this book so much! Kay McSpadden's quick wit and humor mixed with heart-warming stories of her passion for teaching teenagers kept me laughing and crying long past my bedtime! The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking about all the other people that would love this book too.

Of course, I knew my friends who teach would absolutely devour this book. But Kay also takes us through her journeys as a young mother watching her children take their first baby steps into the adjustments of a mother in a newly empty nest. My friend preparing to send her son off to his first year of college should read this!

Kay's stories celebrate teachers, students, and the strengths of families- all which make this book so special and full of inspiration. But don't buy just one copy because you will soon discover that this book is a true treasure that you will be eager to share!
A Must Read For Everyone  Jan 10, 2008
I am an avid reader and first came upon Kay McSpadden's writings in The Charlotte Observer newspaper. I was eager to check out her book "Notes from a Classroom".
If you have never heard of Kay McSpadden, you are in for a treat! She skillfully relates tales of her 30 years of teaching in a rural South Carolina high school. She allows us a glimpse into her struggles and triumphs as she strives to challenge young minds. She introduces us to many of her students, most who live in poverty-stricken conditions with questionable futures.
Kay gives us many uplifting tales of students who enter her classroom feeling defeated and leave having learned to shine. In one such Public Speaking class, Kay is doubtful how the semester will go with the mix of students taking this course. Everyone is shaky and nervous except for a perky over-achiever who dominates the class. After several weeks, a small, shy boy who refuses to make eye contact with anyone raises his hand to read the assignment, "One thing you should know about me is..." and transforms the dynamics of the entire class. I won't ruin it for you, but his moment of truthfulness tugged at my heart and I applauded him for his bravery.
In another story, I felt her deep sadness as she recommended more classic novels to the bright enthusiastic "farm boy" senior who so enjoyed "Ulysses". He replied that once he graduated, his "reading spell" would be over.
Kay also shares some of her life experiences as a wife, a mother, a sister, and a daughter. She writes a moving letter to her mother on her 80th birthday thanking her for the big things she has given her (such as life, health, a happy childhood) as well as the small gift that, in retrospect, hadn't been so small after all. She writes, "Thank you for wearing the cheap perfume and gaudy costume jewelry I bought you, letting me know that a mother's love is larger than her need for style." This is wisdom clearly gleaned in retrospect as Kay raised her own children with love. This heartwarming tribute reminds me how immeasurable and beautiful a mother's love is.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading. I felt inspired and moved, and so grateful that Kay McSpadden allowed me to have a glimpse into her world. I once had to stop and think when someone posed the question, "If you could invite anyone to dinner, living or dead, who would it be?" I would now answer that I would ask Kay McSpadden so she could share more of her struggles and triumphs to inspire and challenge me.
Teach for Your Life  Dec 7, 2007
A Call to Life Long Learning

Thank goodness author and seasoned high school teacher Kay McSpadden did not learn all she needed to know in kindergarten. One of the themes of Notes from a Classroom, a collection of essays originally written by McSpadden for a local newspaper and radio station, is that life provides constant learning opportunities. A good education, says McSpadden, is one that empowers us to ask probing questions along the way -- especially concerning what others would have us believe.

I have always maintained that teaching is not for the faint of heart and I could see little to recommend it as a career. After reading this book I still believe that the molding of young minds is one of the toughest jobs out there but there were moments when the author's regard for her profession and her students made me wish I had what it takes.

Notes from a Classroom is not just about education. It is about children, adolescents, family, work, struggle, joy, tragedy--in short, it is about the human condition. Long out of kindergarten, Kay McSpadden has the wisdom to know she still has more to learn and that is what makes this wonderful book all the more valuable.
"What a treasure Kay McSpadden has given us"  Dec 6, 2007
Full disclosure: I am the editor of "Notes from a Classroom," so if I think it a treasure (and I do) that is no surprise.

But the words above are not mine. They are poet Nikki Giovanni's -- part of a beautiful tribute she wrote to Kay McSpadden and to teachers generally after seeing an early copy of "Notes" (the full text is reprinted in "Notes" and is also available online).

Readers in Charlotte, NC have long known Kay McSpadden to be a treasure. "Notes" is a collection of McSpadden's popular columns from the Charlotte Observer, where she writes about teaching high school English in a high poverty school. McSpadden doesn't flinch from reporting her challenges in the classroom, her disappointments -- even mistakes. But again and again, she shows us students transformed through Socratic discussion and through their encounters with literature.

Whether you are an educator, parent, or anyone who cares about life and learning, these stories will send chills down your spine. And if you have a classroom of your own, you'll especially want to peek over McSpadden's shoulder as she shares how to turn struggling teens into successful students.

"On rare occasions I read a book that leaves me feeling wiser," says Ed Williams, Editor of the Editorial Pages for the Charlotte Observer. "This is one of those books." Read "Notes from a Classroom," and discover why.

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