I originally intended on writing about Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind: Thoughts on Teacherhood, as a holiday teacher gift idea, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this makes the perfect end of year gift. I hope you bought your child’s teacher something food related for the holidays – that’s what they really need this time of year. However, by the end of the year, teachers are able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (summer!) and reflect with a sense of humor on the year passed. When that time comes, please keep Close Encounters of the Third Grade Kind in mind for the perfect gift.
Author Phillip Done writes with a gentle sense of humor about the little nuances of teacherhood that ring true for any teacher who reads his words. As a former English teacher, I especially loved his commentary on “The Intercom.” Spending your adult days inside a classroom with a gaggle of other people’s children is bizarre to begin with, but those unique aspects of daily life – like the fact that your thoughts may be interrupted at any time by a bodiless voice coming from a box somewhere else in the building – make it all the more interesting. When a teacher hears that unmistakable click/beep before an announcement, they are never sure what monkey wrench will be thrown into their carefully planned class.
I also especially enjoyed the chapter titled “Gifts.” When I moved from teaching private school to public, I knew that the gravy train was probably going to end, and I was okay with that. How many teacher mugs, after all, does a non-coffee drinking 23 year old really need? I was surprised, however, to learn how much more the rare gift meant to me. My personal favorite was the year that an 8th grader who I taught two years earlier in 6th grade stopped by a couple days before winter break. He came in with a 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper. “I was shopping with my mom and thought of you. You drank one every day during 1st period. I hope you still drink these. Merry Christmas.” That one still makes me tear up just thinking about a student remembering me fondly. Who knew they did that?
If you’d like to learn more about Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind by Phillip Done, please check out the Center Street Publishing author page.
If you’d like to win a copy to give to a special teacher in your life, here’s your chance! FOUR winners will each receive one copy of Close Encounters of the Third-Grade Kind. This contest is open to all legal U.S. residents and ends 11:59 p.m. EST January 1st, 2010.
-Leave a comment telling me what teacher most inspired you or changed your life in some way. Feel free to share as much as you’d like or as little as a name.