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Alexandra Robbins

Forfatter af Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities

9+ Works 3,333 Members 108 Reviews 1 Favorited

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Alexandra Robbins is on the staff of The New Yorker and has written for numerous magazines and newspapers. A Yale graduate, she lives in the Washington, D.C. area.

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Washington, D.C., USA
Yale University (1998)



The statisticy, numbersy stuff didn't really give me much I didn't already know, but the month-by-month accounts of teachers experiences over the course of a year made this book a must-read.
Amateria66 | 5 andre anmeldelser | May 24, 2024 |
This is an important book for anyone who has a stake in education, whether you work in it or are a parent who has a kid in it, this book details the struggles teachers and students face–the everyday struggles of simply learning material and gaining social emotional skills, and the struggles that simply shouldn’t be struggles, like lack of funding and unsupportive administration. However, Robbins doesn’t let the tough times overshadow the special moments that make teaching and education worth it. This book is a great balance of harsh reality and heartwarming inspiration.

Truly, this book has my heart. With my husband being a now-school librarian and a former English teacher, and having studied education, student taught, and tutored for quite some years myself, I see how teachers are consistently undermined and undervalued in their profession. This book speaks to those experiences but also shows just how dedicated most teachers are.

I love the combination of personal stories from Robbins’s correspondence to other teachers and data from studies and surveys. It provides a nice touch to show the human, emotional side of what the data represents. She goes through the school year, following three teachers in three different areas of the country. I fell in love with them and their stories. I cried when I read about the impossible situations they sometimes found themselves in.

Teaching is a tough job, made tougher by lack of administrative support and funding in many places. Robbins doesn’t shy away from the tough parts–where administration keeps painting over mold in a classroom, despite inherent health risks–where a special education teacher’s classes are overloaded with students, creating an unsafe environment. These are common situations many teachers find themselves in and often they don’t feel comfortable fighting against it because they don’t want to lose their jobs.

But Robbins also shows the rewarding part–the moment when you see a concept click with a kid–when a shy student feels safe and comfortable enough to come out of their shell–those wonderful times when a student calls you their favorite teacher and is so excited to see you and learn with you every day. It’s these moments that keep teachers going and that makes the profession so special. I love that she captured part of that.

I really loved this book for its honesty and its efforts to show a true glimpse of teaching. I think this is a great book to read for people who aren’t in the classroom every day to get a glimpse of just what is happening in education and be better informed as to what to advocate for when it comes to public education.
… (mere)
sedelia | 5 andre anmeldelser | Sep 23, 2023 |
This book about the ways in which being over-driven, over-ambitious and over-scheduled is sucking the life out of teenagers may have been novel when it was published, but to my ear it has all been discussed to death already in many other fora. What set this book apart was the individual case studies that Robbins did of students at her Alma Mater, Walt Whitman. Although she refers to them as "Overachievers," it was honestly my opinion that with a couple of exceptions, they were pretty average students, with a small handful of extracurriculars and GPAs in the high 3's. Nonetheless, I found myself drawn to them and their stories.

The researched portions felt pretty redundant and Robbins didn't have much novel to add in them. Also, I found her breathless scare tactics a little dated, given that it's my experience that now that the overachievers are old enough to have kids of our own, it's a huge status symbol to underschedule your kids, put them in play-based preschools or opt out of preschool entirely and not pressure them. Who knows if that'll stick as our kids get older, but certainly the horrors of Baby Einstein and Baby Galileo are remnants of a past era.

I also found that there were some parts that stuck out -- that in the drive to make a point, Robbins just put in everything that sounded like it fit, whether or not it was a good idea. For instance, she complains about summer homework. Summer homework and summer curriculae are the best evidence-based interventions to bridge the gap between lower and upper class students that develops over summers. Similarly, she decries full-day kindergarten, which I see as a necessary invention in the women's liberation movement. I also wish she had talked more about the effects of burnout on long-term career success, which scored only a glancing mention at the end.

Still, I found it a kind of fun and easy to read what was essentially a rant about a topic on which I mostly share the same view.

… (mere)
settingshadow | 13 andre anmeldelser | Aug 19, 2023 |
There's a section in this book where nurses admit they find cops and firemen very attractive. They say the reason behind this is that They get us. They are right there in the trenches with us, and know what it feels like to not only save people, but to loose them as well." So why is that we teach our kids that cops and firemen are heroes, but nurses are caregivers? Yes, they are caregivers, but was this book demonstrates time and time again, nurses are the true heroes of our health care system; even more so than the doctors. It's about time we start spreading this around. Read this book and spread the word around.… (mere)
kevinkevbo | 12 andre anmeldelser | Jul 14, 2023 |



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