Outskirts Press (2015)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (07/16)
A career in education that covers three different inner city schools provided author Dan Henderson the experience to write, “That’s Special: A Survival Guide to Teaching.” Through this book, he teaches teachers how to improve their skills in the classroom, especially when dealing with some very unique students. He begins each chapter detailing a very entertaining situation that happened in the classroom and then offers tools to help others in similar situations. Most of the situations discussed are the kind that you might not find so entertaining in the moment, but you know that you will laugh about them some day. Keeping humor in the classroom is a great way to avoid burnout, and in many cases, it is a necessity for the teacher in order to get through the day.
I love that the ten teaching tools offered are all very concise and not just opinions. Many are backed up with resources like links to websites, and some offer citations. The author’s enthusiasm radiates throughout the pages, in spite of having a career with special education students in inner city schools. It doesn’t get much tougher than that, and for someone to figure out how to resolve classroom issues and still maintain their sense of humor is a huge gift. Some of his suggestions will also help you prevent the situation before it occurs.
As a college instructor of students with disabilities, I have experienced many moments in the classroom that I will truly never forget. Most of them are ones that I can laugh about now, but I still have a few that weren’t so funny for me. Having an opportunity to learn some new skills, especially in the area of classroom management is wonderful.
I have already messaged two friends who are in the K-12 system to let them know that they need to read, “That’s Special” by Dan Henderson immediately. I have to admit they do share some entertaining stories with me of which they are not at the point where they can laugh yet, so I have to chuckle quietly. Maybe, I need to go ahead and send them this highly recommended book!