“Alphabet Meditations” by Nancy Oelklaus

Reviewed 06/27/2009 by  Rebecca Boudin

There are people out there who do not understand what the life of a teacher is like.  They’re not difficult to find.

alphabet_meditationsThey’re the ones who think teachers have an easy job, one that pays far too much for only nine months of work out of the year.

They’re the ones who might not admit it, but really think our educators are nothing more than glorified babysitters.

Only those of us who have gotten a glimpse at a teacher’s life, either by doing or purposefully observing, truly understand how much work a teacher is expected to do.

There are lessons to plan, papers to grade, parents to meet, meetings to attend, classrooms to design and decorate, fights to settle, discipline to be determined, etc.

Contrary to popular belief, a teacher’s job does not end when the final bell rings.

Nancy Oelklaus is someone who understands all the stresses and strains of an educator.  In her book, Alphabet Meditations for Teachers, she provides teachers with a way to refocus themselves and prepare for a new day in the classroom.

In Alphabet Mediations for Teachers, filled with numerous gentle and rhythmic meditations, Oelklaus addresses all those dark thoughts teachers have, but are too ashamed to admit.

Her writing is brutally honest, and in that way, gives the reader a chance to also be honest with him or herself.

The selections in the book focus on various difficult aspects of a teacher’s job, such as respecting diversity, changing instruction when results aren’t being achieved, grading, noise control, enforcing rules, and determining what students really need to know.

The meditation that focuses on parent-teacher relationships will ring true with every educator, especially the passage that reads, “Give me the grace not to be defensive when they attack, but to calmly and confidently explain myself to them.”

Oelklaus understands the worries of a teacher like only a teacher could.

There is also a guide for using these meditations as a professional development activity included in the back of the book.

This could be a relaxing and rewarding way to bond with your colleagues.

It would make an excellent gift for anyone involved with children on a consistent basis, as its underlying messages speak of loving children for their differences and giving them the best we have.

(For more information or to purchase the book, visit www.alphabetmeditations.com )

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