The Art of Teaching Children: All I Learned from a Lifetime in the Classroom
An essential guide for teachers and parents that’s destined to become a classic, The Art of Teaching Children is one of those rare and masterful books that not only defines a craft but offers a magical reading experience.
After more than thirty years in the classroom, award-winning teacher Phillip Done decided that it was time to retire. But a teacher’s job is never truly finished, and he set out to write the greatest lesson of his career: a book for educators and parents that would pass along everything he learned about working with kids. From the first-day-of-school jitters to the last day’s tears, Done writes about the teacher’s craft, classrooms and curriculums, the challenges of the profession, and the reason all teachers do it—the children.
Drawing upon decades of experience, Done shares time-tested tips and sage advice: Real learning is messy, not linear. Greeting kids in the morning as they enter the classroom is an important part of the school day. If a student is having trouble, look at what you can do differently before pointing the finger at the child. Ask yourself: Would I want to be a student in my class? When children watch you, they are learning how to be people, and one of the most important things we can do for our students is to model the kind of people we would like them to be. Done tackles topics you won’t find in any other teaching book, including Back to School Night nerves, teacher pride, the Sunday Blues, Pinterest envy, teacher guilt, and the things they never warn you about in “teacher school” but should, like how to survive recess duty, field trips, and lunch supervision. Done also addresses some of the most important issues schools face today: bullying, excessive screen time, the system’s obsession with testing, teacher burnout, and the ever-increasing demands of meeting the diverse learning needs of students.
But The Art of Teaching Children is more than a guide to educating today’s young learners. These pages are alive with inspiration, humor, and tales of humanity. Done welcomes us like visitors at Open House Night to the world of elementary school, where we witness lessons that go well and others that flop, periods that run smoothly and ones that go haywire when a bee flies into the room. We meet master teachers and new ones, librarians and lunch supervisors, principals and parents (some with too much time on their hands). We get to know kids who want to hold a ball and those who’d rather hold a marker, students with difficult home lives and children with disabilities, youngsters who need drawing out and those who happily announce (in the middle of a math lesson) that they have a loose tooth.
With great wit and wisdom, irresistible storytelling, and boundless compassion, The Art of Teaching Children is the new educator’s bible for teachers, parents, and all who work with kids and care about their learning and success.
Praise for The Art of Teaching Children: All I Learned from a Lifetime in the Classroom
“I fell in love. . . . There is so much amazing advice in Mr. Done's book, but the biggest takeaway is how much he loved his kids.”
—Jenna Bush Hager, Today
“You will smile the entire time you read this book. The reflections are priceless.”
—Harry K. Wong, author of The First Days of School
“I hope [this book] will spark some rethinking of certain attitudes and assumptions in the classroom. Done writes about his decades in the classroom, working with children, and challenges of the field. He discusses the obsession with testing, how some teachers kill the joy of learning and reading, and how ‘smart’ can look different in different people. Perhaps most importantly, if something’s not working, he writes about teachers looking at themselves before assuming it’s the student. This is a book about learning, not about school. About relationship and connection. At times, that feels downright revolutionary in education.”
—Jaime Herndon, Book Riot
“Done mines his 33 years of experience for colorful stories and sound advice in this spirited teacher’s survival guide. . . . Well-crafted examples and pithy prose drive his points home. Done’s experience will hearten those in the trenches and be a tonic for young teachers.”
“After three decades teaching elementary school, Done has amassed hundreds of interesting stories about his students, and he demonstrates a strong grasp of what works (and doesn’t) in the classroom. . . . Given the author’s highly successful career, it’s clear that his methods are proven to work. For teachers seeking inspiration, Done provides numerous stimulating concepts that can be incorporated into any lesson plan; for prospective or aspiring teachers, the author has plenty of insights into the ups and downs of teaching young children. All readers will have no doubt that Done chose the right profession. . . . A well-rounded, satisfying look at the daily life of a teacher.”
“At no time in our history have kids and teachers had a greater need for what this book provides. It’s a recipe for love, comfort, and routine in the classroom, providing a true foundation for the love of learning.”
—Jim Fay, author of Teaching with Love and Logic
“Anyone who has ever considered taking on the challenge of teaching this current generation of children will find a rare and rich resource in The Art of Teaching Children. This is the book you’ll be reaching for again and again as you struggle to become the kind of inspirational teacher you’ve always dreamed of being.”
—Adele Faber, author of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
“With humor, warmth, practical tips, and cherished memories, Phillip Done offers the next generation of teachers a treasury of insights into the teaching profession. Part memoir, part practical guide, The Art of Teaching Children reminds educators that the spark that led them to choose teaching as their life’s work will ignite their imaginations and optimism even when faced with day-to-day challenges. This book is a love letter to teachers at any stage in the journey, written by a seasoned veteran who spent thirty-three years in a classroom. ‘Be committed, compassionate, and creative,’ writes Done. This book is rich with all three.”
—Julie Bogart, author of Raising Critical Thinkers
“Phillip Done has done it again! Done has become a go-to author for an authentic window into the classroom, his writing perpetually infused with the combination of gentle humor, kindness and pragmatism that is so needed today.”
—Esmé Raji Codell, author of Educating Esmé