Clarion Review: What They Say About This New Book: The Other Side of Teaching

June 17, 2015


Clarion Review

EDUCATION

The Other Side of Teaching

Evelyn Uddin-Khan

978-1-4990-7794-0

 This is a deep, stinging indictment of the education system from a teacher’s point of view.law-books-4

 The Other Side of Teaching, by Evelyn Uddin-Khan, is an emotional look at the trenches of education from a veteran teacher.

Uddin-Khan has a doctorate in comparative and international education, lending her book a broad perspective and deep insight, but the heart of her understanding is intensely personal.

The book examines teaching conditions, internal and external politics, and the shifting balance of power in education. The first two parts of the book share stories from her teaching experience. The third part discusses policy desksproblems specifically, but her experience is critical to her insights. The fourth part gives the author’s view of the positives of the teaching profession, such as the students themselves and friendships with other teachers.

It’s clear through her sincerity and intensity that Uddin-Khan loves teaching and students. But the depth of her love makes her hurt deeper. After years of service, being essentially demoted made her feel like a commodity to the school system—a system that she already felt didn’t give teachers their due respect. Her pain and anger are quite smudge-chalk-girlsunderstandable, but at times they overshadow the ideas she wants to present.

Her discussion of policy and problems with the system is best suited for those who have a relatively good grasp of the education system: She begins, “It is obvious that education policy in its present form is excluding the majority of poor and middle-income children from receiving the education they deserve.” For some teachers, parents, and concerned citizens, Uddin-Khan’s ire will fuel desire for change.mind

But those unfamiliar with the day-to-day realities of the teaching profession will find her experience eye-opening and even shocking (such as how verbal and physical abuse from students goes unaddressed by administration and parents), prompting the question, “It can’t possibly be that bad, right?”—a question that Uddin-Khan hopes will encourage people to take a deeper look at education.

school busThe cover and back panel copy don’t fully show how personal and emotional the book is. They set a more academic expectation that may make Uddin-Khan’s earnest and sometimes angry voice jarring. The Other Side of Teaching is an inside look at the education system through one teacher’s tell-all point of view.

Melissa Wuske

 

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