Official Review: Real Principals Have No Class

Please use this forum to discuss historical fiction books. Common definitions define historical fiction as novels written at least 25-50 years after the book's setting.
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bb587
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Official Review: Real Principals Have No Class

Post by bb587 » 30 Jul 2018, 14:04

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Real Principals Have No Class" by DeLene Sholes.]
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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.

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Real Principals Have No Class
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kandscreeley
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Post by kandscreeley » 03 Aug 2018, 10:19

I don't think I'd want to be told in the beginning precisely what was going to be accomplished either. However, I do like that you can see the progression of one total event even if it means the book isn't necessarily organized by time. It sounds like a good book with something for us all to learn. Thanks.
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Post by Cecilia_L » 03 Aug 2018, 12:23

Reading the ending at the beginning would spoil the story for me, too. It's a shame because the progression of the book sounds interesting, otherwise. I appreciate your candid review.

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Post by Dael Reader » 03 Aug 2018, 15:22

I am looking for some lighter reading right now. Maybe this is the one. Nice review.

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Post by CatInTheHat » 03 Aug 2018, 16:35

What time period does the story take place in?
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Post by bb587 » 03 Aug 2018, 22:58

I believe it was between the 1970s and 90s. Thanks for asking!

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Post by crediblereading2 » 04 Aug 2018, 10:54

This is quite an interesting story which centers on growth and the methods used to attain this growth. Thank you for your insightful review.

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Post by Nidaconhh » 04 Aug 2018, 11:19

It must be hard for Suzanne to juggle between teaching loads and admin's workload. I always love reading books regarding education. Nice review!

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Post by kfwilson6 » 07 Aug 2018, 21:21

This doesn't really sound that interesting. When I was in the 5th grade I shared a class with 4th graders (one of them being my brother!). It worked pretty smoothly. We learned a lot of the same things, but there was also some independent study included where we did things more at an individual pace.

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Post by KarinaBordas » 10 Aug 2018, 22:45

Knowing the ending from the start may be frustrating enough to cause me to lose interest. While I understand this is a style of writing, I’m not sure that the journey of teacher to principal is intriguing enough to warrant the use of this style. Nevertheless, I may give it a try.

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