3 out of 4 stars
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Real Principals Have No Class by DeLene Sholes is the interesting story of a small, run-down school in need of tender love and care. You’ll find yourself rooting for this school, despite its lack of funding, accreditation, teachers, and curb appeal.
Suzanne Drew is an elementary school principal. She tells us how she got to be principal and about her struggles taking care of Baker Elementary School. In the first chapter, we find out about all the wonderful changes that were made to the school during Suzanne’s reign. We also receive the superintendent’s decision for her to be removed from the school and placed elsewhere. I thought this was a very odd way to start the book. Before page six, we already know what she’s going to accomplish and how it’s all going to end. It thoroughly confused me.
Chapter two takes us back in time. However, this book is not strictly linear. Parts are organized by situation. For example, there’s a chapter explaining the difficulties of separating religion from public education. We follow the progression of removing the prayers and religious lectures from the school, but it didn’t happen all at once. This way, we could understand the progression of one situation at a time, even though a lot of things overlapped.
Suzanne went from being a teacher to being a teaching principal. This meant she had to juggle the administrative duties of being a principal while also teaching a class. At first, this was made even more difficult since she taught two grades together. I’ve heard of the practice with smaller schools but this book gave me a better idea of how something like that could be accomplished. Eventually, there were enough students attending the school to warrant separate teachers for each grade. Soon after, Suzanne was able to become a “real principal,” which meant she no longer had to teach.
The story arc centers around the growth and improvement of the school. Even though the chapters were more about situations, I still felt the book progressed in a forward direction. I wouldn’t be able to give anyone a timeline of events but I still felt the presence of the beginning, middle, and end of the storyline.
The story seemed well-edited. There were only a few small mistakes throughout the book. However, there were a few cases of formatting changes, and the indentation of paragraphs was not always consistently spaced. Overall, I rate this book 3 out of 4 stars. I really hated reading the ending in the first chapter. I felt myself counting down the list of accomplishments while I waited for the inevitable end. There were still a few surprises mixed in and several entertaining encounters that made reading this book well worth it. I would recommend this for light reading to all ages, especially those interested in the inner workings of an elementary school. I would not suggest this book if you’re interested in action or adventure.
Real Principals Have No Class
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