Book Review and Giveaway: Still Teaching in the Key of Life

With the new school year upon us, it’s a good time to take a moment and reflect on why you chose to become an educator in the first place. It’s a crazy, stressful, humbling, and ultimately incredibly rewarding calling, don’t you think?

Which is why we’re excited this week to talk about Still Teaching in the Key of Life: Joyful Stories from Early Childhood Settings by Mimi Brodsky Chenfield.

It would be reasonable to assume that Chenfield, a well-known educator and author who began her teaching career in 1956, might be burned out by now, but that’s very far from the case. Her newest book is a short but poignant collection of 20 real-life tales from the front that will remind you anew why you became an educator – and why your work is so important to the lives of the children you teach.

“I believe – have always believed – that there are no unreachable children, only those who are, as yet, unreached,” Chenfield writes in her introduction.

In her essays, she writes deftly about dealing with “wolves at the door” (critics of creative, intuitive teaching styles); how humor and playfulness can break down barriers and make learning more effective; ways to draw in even the most recalcitrant learners; why there’s no one “Rx” for reading; keys to focusing on the truly BIG stuff; and more.

Near the end of the book, Chenfield observes that people often ask her if she’s “still hanging out with little kids.” Her answer is always an unequivocal yes:

[B]eing with young children is like aerobics for the imagination, nourishment for the spirit…[B]eing with young children is a lesson in loving. In our statistical society, where feelings are hoarded, measured, metered, and splintered, we learn about wholeness.

Throughout the book, Chenfield manages to convey her unflagging enthusiasm for the teaching profession without ever coming across as saccharine or sanctimonious. It’s the perfect little book to pull out and dip into – pick a page, any page – when you’re feeling frustrated or defeated with your work. (Which, let’s be honest, happens to the best of us from time to time.) Chenfield’s focus is on early childhood settings, but even if you teach older children, you’ll still get a lot out of the book.

Because we want you to have access to this motivating resource during the darkest days of the school year, with all its logistical and emotional complications, we’re giving away a brand-new copy of Still Teaching in the Key of Life this week!

How to Enter The Book Giveaway

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post letting us know why you’d like to win the book. For one additional bonus entry, mention this giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, and/or your own blog, and leave a separate comment here letting us know you’ve done so.

All entries must be in by 6 p.m. Eastern time this Friday, September 26, and we’ll choose a winner at random after that time.

Good luck!