Concerned about our public schools today? Do you wish you could see what is really going on? Should experienced teachers be given any consideration with regard to strengths, skills sets and placement when their position is eliminated?
Check out Elizabeth Rose‘s memoir – “Yo Miz!” – a wild ride through the public schools in Manhattan, from the barrio down to Wall Street. Elizabeth “edu-tains” us with the people, places, acronyms and jargon.
The author spent ten years and raised $325,000 teaching at a Manhattan public high school, only to be “excessed” into a pool of as many as 2,500 tenured-cum-rotating substitute teachers (ATRs). These teachers were given weekly assignments – a.k.a. the kind of job designed to make you quit.
Elizabeth gives you the low-down with an upbeat outlook and incredible determination in the face of adversity. She delivers her story and all of the colorful characters in a way that is both uplifting and heart-breaking: from the war-torn immigrant from the Ivory Coast to the reformed murderer to the aspiring fashion designer. Elizabeth listens and engages with honesty, empathy and sincerity. She is serious, seriously funny, and experienced enough to know when to call for back-up.
Do we want teachers to foster a love of learning? Should teachers inspire young minds to understand the world and develop critical thinking skills? Should they teach to tests?
Elizabeth uses her brief encounters to engage with students who are impacted by poverty, gangs, immigration, and emotional stressors. Both have to deal with the issue of standardized tests.
Is a standardized test score an accurate measure professional success for any teacher working with so many unrelated challenges? For many students, the standardized tests are the ultimate obstacle to their success.
This summer come and drink the “Yo Miz!” lemonade. Week after week Elizabeth makes the best of a bad situation. She summons the power of positive thinking and makes us appreciate the efforts of those who invest in our children. The serial format makes it the perfect take-with-you-everywhere book. In between the observations, conversations and musings, you will question the lack of transparency in our public schools, and you will wonder about the inequality of resources.
“Yo Miz!” is a window into the private world of public schools, that reads like a gripping novel. You won’t want to put it down.