Pickering, Sam. Letters to a Teacher.

Author:Julian, Janet
Position:Young Adult Review - Book Review

PICKERING, Sam. Letters to a teacher. Grove. 242p. c2004. 0-8021-4227-3. $12.00. SA

Touted as "the teacher who inspired Dead Poets Society," Sam Pickering has been teaching for more than 40 years. Currently this author of 19 books is inspiring students at the University of Connecticut. Letters to a Teacher is addressed to fellow educators, but can be enjoyed by a wider audience. His ten letters cover such diverse topics as: The Teacher's Life, The Good Teacher, Qualities of a Teacher, Words, Interests, Truth, Pressure, Requirements, and Last Thoughts. Intensely personal and passionate, these letters include real and invented stories and words of wisdom from others, such as Kenneth Grahame, Matthew Arnold, Jane Austen, Thoreau, Milton, Wordsworth, and William Hazlitt.

Pickering shares his teaching experiences in Australia and Jordan as well as his days at Dartmouth, where he was faced with a student's public obscenity. He advises his readers not to take his book too seriously. "Read the book. Ponder some things then push it aside and move beyond it. Advice is suggestion ... Don't hold grudges, and forget slights ... If your school system is not unionized, it should be ... Get to know your fellow teachers well ... Whatever you do has the potential to influence someone...

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