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Posted February 10, 2011
Even though this is well outside the usual genre I read, I took a chance and I am so glad I did. This was absolutely hilarious!! There were times I was crying from laughing so hard. Great book!
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Posted August 12, 2007
Learn Me Good tracks the weekly correspondence sent between Jack Woodson and his former co-worker, Fred Bommerson. Having been laid off by Heat Pumps Unlimited, a thermal design firm in Texas, Jack pursues a new career path, spurred mainly by the enjoyment he's always derived from working with kids. With a natural knack for math & science, he becomes a third-grade teacher, embarking upon new adventures in the field of public education - the magnitude of which he can only imagine. Jack quickly adapts to his new responsibilities, even quipping to Fred about the status report he'll soon send to the Alumni Office at his alma mater, Duke University: 'Jack M. Woodson (Duke engineering, class of `95) is currently living and working in Dallas, TX. He has forty children, and all of them have different mothers.' Thus begins Pearson's tale, an engaging study in the real education that goes on in the classroom, outside of textbooks, hall passes, and morning announcements. With its subtle cynicism, biting wit, and endless allusions to pop culture, Learn Me Good draws you in with just how easily Jack's everyday experiences with eight- and nine-year-old children parallels that which we experience with full-grown adults on the job, at home, and everywhere else. Without apology, Pearson takes jabs at every aspect of what passes for normalcy among today's childrearing practices. He even pulls off this commentary on the conduct of a school district representative assigned to check the students' eyesight with sardonic aplomb: 'She felt that some kids may not WANT to wear glasses, so she made her pitch, and I quote: 'I think glasses are SEXY!'...Should you really use the word 'sexy' around eight- and nine-year-olds? It's like airing a commercial for Bacardi rum in the middle of an episode of Sesame Street (Today's episode is brought to you by the letter B and the number 151!)' And consider this assessment of the real priorities of today's youth: 'Chassity had been caught writing a note to one of the other girls. The gist of the note was basically 'You're a witch. Who's a witch? You are, you witch.' And on, and on. Only, she didn't use the word 'witch,' instead preferring a more socially unacceptable rhyming word. Kelly and I had joked about the fact that nearly all of the words in the note were misspelled EXCEPT for that one word.' Pearson tramps the hallowed ground of public education with piercing wit and unrelenting irreverence, giving it a not-so-good-natured - but much needed - ribbing. He even takes a fair swipe at the current presidential approach to education: 'No Child Left Behind? No Child Left Untested Till He's Blue In The Face is more like it' It's not always fun and games, though. Throughout his narrative, Pearson does an effective job of pointing out the various nuances of public education that rarely bring about smiles and laughter. Chief among these is the concept of mobility rate: the tendency of students to enroll and withdraw at the school at an alarming frequency. He even goes so far as to make the point that merely weeks into the new school year some teachers could have an entirely different class of students, which often makes them ruefully aware of the attachments that come and go: 'Why can't the good ones stay?? I know, I'm being selfish, I'll admit it. I'm just afraid when a good kid leaves, because it just opens a hole for another Mark Peter to come in.' Considering the fact that Mark Peter routinely steals teachers' items and physically terrorizes other students, one can hardly blame Jack for this sentiment. Timely, insightful, and absolutely hilarious, Learn Me Good needs to be required reading for anyone considering teaching as a profession. Much like the crip notes for War & Peace, it's an indispensable guide to all the real training you'll never formally get.
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Posted January 3, 2014
I loved this book! I was absolutely died laughing. Your first year as a teacher is always the hardest, but I love how the author made it enjoyable. Exceptional book and a must read for any teacher!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted May 31, 2012
This book was ok. It's just a bunch of stories from what happened in his third grade class. Which were funny. I wasn't really driven to keep picking up this book, but when I did I was interested enough. I would have liked this book a lot more if I was a teacher. So, if your a teacher I definitely recommend this book to you.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 11, 2012
Posted September 9, 2011
While the book could stand a little reformating, it is funny and fresh. The back and forth between the new teacher and his old friends in his old workplace really does underscore how little difference there is between adults and children.
I laughed out loud, and the parts I read to my husband also made him laugh out loud. I'm going to have to see about getting the sequel.
Posted June 6, 2011
Jack Woodson is an Engineer turned Elementary School teacher. Follow Jack through his first year as a Math Teacher as he emails former co-workers his funny and strange stories straight from the classroom. A funny look inside the classroom through the Teachers eyes. Lets Talk About It: This is a cute, funny book. I love the unusual format of reading 'emails' in the book as the way to tell the day to day antics of his classroom and students. Every single 'email' had a cute funny story about the children with a sarcastic twist and signed off in different pen names that were cleverly designed to reflect upon the emails story. As the emails went on I found myself cheering for the students in their quest to win Math Madness and the numerous testing they went through. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the stories and cringing on others. This book was great from start to finish. A humorous look inside the classroom and the mind of a teacher that has you quickly turning the page to get to the next days antics. I hope Mr. Woodson has a follow up to Learn Me Good in the works. Melissa Reviewer for 1000 + Books to ReadWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 18, 2011
The book I read was Learn Me Good by John Pearson. In this hilarious memoir first year teacher Jack Woodson describes almost every school day through a series of emails to an old coworker. Each email is filled with sarcasm and funny anecdotes of a first year teacher with subject lines such as "Irritable Vowel Syndrome," "In math class, no one can hear you scream," and "I love the smell of Lysol in the morning." This is a great book for teachers; it'll bring you back to your first year teaching days - both the good and the bad. Pearson describes each student of his class, both in class and out of school, with a little bit of hope, a little bit of sarcasm and a whole lot of love. Great summer read for any teacher!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 4, 2011
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Posted December 6, 2010
Storyline: It's better than good; it's gooder even! Mr. Pearson's hilarious book chronicles his first year of teaching through a series of emails to a former coworker. It almost makes me want to be a teacher. Almost. Jack Woodson was laid off from his engineering job that he worked at for nearly 4 years and decided to become a school teacher. After all the necessary tests, certifications and teacher's training, he is now a brand spanking new math and science teacher at a Dallas area school with his very own class of 3rd grade students to mold into future world leaders.
Jack decides to share his day to day adventures and misadventures with a former colleague at the thermal design firm that laid him off. Learn Me Good is based on actual events. The names of the parties involved have all been changed to protect the innocent and deter the guilty from being too proud of their "accomplishments." Jack pokes fun at his old coworkers, even comparing their maturity level to that of the 3rd graders he teaches and all the while, sharing anecdotes about the 8 and 9 year olds' views on life, liberty and the pursuit of recess.
Grammar/Spelling: I did not notice any grammatical or spelling issues. (As to be expected, I mean, Mr. Pearson IS a teacher!)
Character Development: There were plenty of characters and plenty of character development. Mr. Pearson navigates through the first year of teaching with an ever-changing cast list in his class and a consistent group of players back at his old job. I could go on for ages about each character, but I'd not only be stealing Mr. Pearson's thunder, I'd also be doing him a disservice with simple summations of each person's integral part in the overall experience.
We have Marvin: the ultimate example of how ADHD cannot be "cured" with simple medication. He means well, he's just.how do you say? Exuberant? Full of life? Yeah, that's it. Marvin is a simple soul who sees the world as it is: in shades of "I didn't mean to."
Thompson is an aspiring rap star and dresses the part - in miniature, of course. He is subject to sudden and intense "rap attacks" when he pops, locks and lays down some serious (if inaudible) lyrical genius. At times, he even borrows verses from other lyrical geniuses - even if he doesn't quite know what all of the words mean.
Then we have hapless Larry: one of Jack's former coworkers and the butt of nearly any and all of Jack's jokes both in these emails and when he worked with him. There was even a prank involving Larry's unattended computer, a picture of the boss and an audio file set at full volume. I've been a witness to that sort of joke before. Always a good time for nearly all parties involved!
Writing Style: The writing style was straight-forward and full of laughs. At times, I could read between the lines and feel some of his frustrations with the entire standardized testing system; but, I could definitely see that he genuinely cared about his students' successes and failures.
Continuity: No issues with continuity.
Overall Rating: 5+
Learn Me Good was practically impossible to put down, hilarious and pretty inspiring. Just when I was fairly certain that our public school systems were full of teachers that don't care and are just focused on standardized testing, Mr. Pearson proves that there are at least a couple who strive to go beyond the dreaded test. There were numerous times when I threatened to spit water out onto my keyboard when reading it. ("Yes, Generic Stu
Posted June 9, 2009
John Pearson has a future in stand-up comedy if he ever decides to leave the classroom. But from the tone of his stories in his book LEARN ME GOOD, it doesn't appear that will be anytime soon. The kids he encountered in his first year teaching certainly supplied him with a wealth of material to spin his tales, all with a minimum of 10 laughs-out-loud each. And Mr. Pearson throws his own two cents in with each vignette, showing the reader that he has been bitten, and badly, by this "educamakashun thing."
He takes us through a school year that has a steady turnover of students, some for the better, some for the worse, and makes us hear the voices of children of all manner and ability who are crying out for a good educational experience. We meet Esteban, who calls out firmly and forthrightly each time he answers, even as he gets them wrong again and again, and Marvin, who likes to choke people "just a little", and Re'Joice, who has to defend herself against the moniker that has been hung on her. And then there's Mark Peter, my personal favorite. He had a way of making himself invisible, borrowing from the world of professional wrestling, no less. If you can survive a kid like him, you can survive anyone who may come your way in a career.
Amidst references to "Cool Hand Luke" and "Little House on the Prairie", John Pearson shows us that he understands this business and is going to 'keep on keeping on' to figure it out. It is clear the his future students will be the better for it.
As the main character Jack Woodson would say to someone who forgot his name, "Nice job, Barry."
You have to read the book to find out what that one means.
Tom Anselm, teacher and author
YOU'RE NEVER TOO OLD FOR SPACE CAMP
Posted July 8, 2008
I taught in DISD for 14 years. I left the district 3 years ago and currently teach in Anchorage, Alaska. I missed DISD so much and all that I went through there. When I found John's 'Learn me Good' blog through the Dallas Morning News website I was so excited to see that I could follow DISD teachers all the way from Alaska. Well it got to the point that I couldn't wait to get my daily emails from his blog and laugh. I finally decided to get the book LEARN ME GOOD and see what it was all about. Well, from beginning to the very end he had me cracking up. He brought me back to my days in the classroom in Dallas. I could relive some of the stuff I had to go through. If you plan on becoming a teacher at all in a urban setting, this is the book to read. Keep it also after you finish reading it so as you are dealing with the stresses of teaching you can open it up and see that someone else went and is going through some of the insanity of everyday teaching. This is a book for every teacher. I am still smiling from reading it-Great Job John!!! :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 23, 2008
After each email ended, I was faced with a conundrum: keep reading on or stop and save the rest for later, savoring each email like a piece of fine chocolate. I wanted to keep reading on, but didn't want this book to end! I stumbled across this book as I searched for books with the same themes as mine 'humor, education'. The book preview was enough to convince me to buy the book--I liked the author's style of humor and the writing was good. This book is hilarious! I especially like how the author uses references from previous chapters in subsequent ones, adding to the comedy by making the reader feel like a story insider. I have so many favorite lines, but I think 'Calls me Ishmaels' takes the cake! I hope this author writes more in the future!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 29, 2007
Jack Woodson isn¿t your typical elementary school teacher. First, he¿s a man second, he¿s not an idealist fresh out of college and third, he ¿has forty children, and all of them have different mothers.¿ But that¿s education blogger John Pearson¿s identity in Learn Me Good, an irreverent, anecdotal look at life as a first-year elementary teacher. Jack Woodson was the unfortunate victim of job cuts at Heat Pumps Unlimited. Faced with finding a new job that made use of his engineering credentials, Woodson decides to take a hard right turn into the world of third grade mathematics. What he discovered, endured and laughed about during that first year in the trenches is the basis for Learn Me Good. Woodson would want you to know that in those trenches he¿s a Lieutenant commanding a platoon of rag-tag 8 and 9 year olds, all of whom are armed to the teeth with four-function math skills. Oh, and he¿s got the weirdest case of trenchfoot anyone has ever seen. Who knew that graham cracker crumb residue could manifest itself into an infection? At least it¿s a sweet-smelling infection¿ Such is the style and tone of Woodson¿s e-mails to former colleague Fred Bommerson, greeted throughout the book as F-Bomm, Fredster, and Big Poppa Heat Pump, to name a few. In e-mail after e-mail, Woodson describes classroom scenarios that cause him to shake his head, drop his jaw, laugh out loud and everything in between. The supporting cast of characters in Learn Me Good give Woodson plenty of opportunity to reflect on the quirks of teaching in an elementary school. There are adult oddballs like the district employee who checks Woodson¿s students for vision problems - but not before selling the third-graders on the coolness of glasses by proclaiming, ¿I think glasses are SEXY!¿ Though Woodson takes the surprise in stride, he can¿t help but tell Fred that it was awkward and nothing short of ¿airing a commercial for Bacardi rum in the middle of an episode of Sesame Street.¿ But Woodson doesn¿t just pluck the low-hanging comical fruits. He humanizes ¿ or is it humorizes? ¿ students like Esteban, an energetic kid who enthusiastically yells answer after answer without stopping to think whether they¿re right [he also has a penchant for filling in test bubbles randomly]. And even the terrors such as the ¿clinically insane¿ Chandra, whom Woodson affectionately nicknames ¿Lucifer,¿ are regarded no worse than ¿bad data points¿ when they clearly have earned the status of a public school urban legend. It¿s not all humor and pop culture references, though. Pearson exposes his energy, command of pedagogy, and curriculum on nearly every page. He doesn¿t sweat the small stuff. His blood pressure is largely stable. He isn¿t political, doesn¿t wail out diatribes on No Child Left Behind and isn¿t out to reform the American education system. Woodson wants to understand the quiet ones, the Spanish speakers and the hyperactive-but-harmless. He just wants to teach and love his kids the best he can and he¿s going to do it with a smile. Purists of the written word may lament the e-mail structure of the book. Pearson avoids a novel-like progression and goes with a unique schema that, while fresh and surprisingly effective, lends itself to reading in short bursts instead of chapter sessions. A particular omission in that structure is the lack of replies from Fred Bommerson though the character of Woodson sums up Fred¿s reactions in the beginning of his e-mails, a few notes directly from Fred might break up the series of familiar blueprints. Learn Me Good has a place on shelves in all levels of the edusphere from the boiler room to the penthouse in the Ivory Tower. Policy wonks will find that it cures frequent heartburn related to frustration, albeit temporarily parents will be refreshed as they read candid reactions from a teacher who they¿d want to befriend in real life teachers with this book on their desk will find that its good-natured but relevWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 19, 2007
Every adult must read this book. Charming, witty, truthful. I honestly had a hard time putting this one down. I didn't laugh every once in a while....I was laughing frequently. Don't just buy one, buy some for your friends because you will want them to read it also, but if you are like me, there is no way you would part with your copy. Two thumbs and eight fingers up!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.