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Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?

Teaching Lessons from the Bronx

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


According to Ilana Garon, popular books and movies are inundated with the myth of the “hero teacher”—the one who charges headfirst into dysfunctional inner city schools like a firefighter into an inferno, bringing the student victims to safety through a combination of charisma and innate righteousness. The students are then “saved” by the teacher’s idealism, empathy, and willingness to put faith in kids who have been given up on by society as a whole.“Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?” is not that type of book.In this book, Garon reveals the sometimes humorous, oftentimes frustrating, and occasionally horrifying truths that accompany the experience of teaching at a public high school in the Bronx today. The overcrowded classrooms, lack of textbooks, and abundance of mice, cockroaches, and drugs weren’t the only challenges Garon faced during her first four years as a teacher. Every day, she’d interact with students such as Kayron, Carlos, Felicia, Jonah, Elizabeth, and Tonya—students dealing with real-life addictions, miscarriages, stints in “juvie,” abusive relationships, turf wars, and gang violence. These students also brought with them big dreams and uncommon insight—and challenged everything Garon thought she knew about education.In response, Garon—a naive, suburban girl with a curly ponytail, freckles, and Harry Potter glasses—opened her eyes, rolled up her sleeves, and learned to distinguish between mitigated failure and qualified success. In this book, Garon explains how she learned that being a new teacher was about trial by fire, making mistakes, learning from the very students she was teaching, and occasionally admitting that she may not have answers to their thought-provoking (and amusing) questions.

From Publishers Weekly

Aug 19, 2013 – Part memoir and part sociology study on the lives of teenagers, Garon reflects on her first four years teaching at a public high school in the Bronx. The title is taken from a student's suggestion for a research topic. Amidst her Garon finds herself sobering up a smart but troubled student when he comes to class drunk, helping a young girl in an abusive co-dependent relationship, and grappling with the "polite way to ask someone if they are in a gang." She profiles the troublemakers like the arrogant Kayron who alternates between tormenting and admiring Garon, along with the hard-luck cases like Felicia, a tremendously smart and wildly charismatic student who is self-mutilating. Then there are the more uplifting stories like Callum, the bright but apathetic student Garon forms a strong bond with, staying in touch through his college years and helping him find work as a journalist. As Garon writes in her introduction, this book is not about the "myth of the hero teacher'" changing the lives of inner city kids, though she does do that, nor is it "a scathing indictment" of the education system. It is that refreshing lack of agenda and Garon's self-awareness that makes this book charming and raw in its honesty.

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Why Do Only White People Get Abducted by Aliens?
View in iTunes
  • $14.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Sep 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Seller: Perseus Books, LLC
  • Print Length: 192 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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