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Review | Just Back Off and Let Us Teach

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A celebration of effective teaching, Just Back Off and LET US TEACH, by author Caroline Alexander Lewis, applauds effective teachers and acknowledges the enormous range of realities that make up a day in their lives. Lewis recognizes the extraordinary effort it takes for teachers to be consistently effective, and begins to tackle the urgent need for teacher validation across the profession.

Both descriptive and motivational, Lewis’ book defines five assets or SCOPE skills she believes are distinctive of effective teachers, and proposes a simple self-assessment for all educators. It is part real-world discussion of the core qualities of effective teachers and part reminder of all the power that comes with the job. Through stories and messages, the author wrestles with questions like: How do we identify effective teachers? Celebrate them? Grow them? Help them know themselves? Keep them in the profession?

While Lewis agrees that we must identify and remove incompetent teachers from the classroom, she argues that current education reform strategies increasingly demoralize teachers in general. This she claims contributes to the premature departure from the profession of some of our very best. Urging reform leaders to heed this, Lewis also calls on effective teachers to do their part to make the profession noble again; to seize opportunities to elevate teaching; and to recognize their ability to impact learning and learners. She honors the best teachers as heroes, noting:
“It is about truly reflecting on whether or not you’ve earned a superhero cape. It is about becoming and remaining an effective teacher.”

Amazon Synopsis

Hott Review:

Each day we see a plethora of posts and tweets complaining about our education system. Finally, we have a suggestion on how to overcome the issues.
What I liked: One of the things that I loved most about Just Back Off and LET US TEACH is that Ms Lewis, instead of spending 128 pages complaining about things we can’t change, uses her time and expertise to give sound advice on becoming an effective teacher, to remind us that we all make mistakes, and to show us how we too can help this next generation by just paying attention.
What I didn’t like: I’m not a non-fiction fan so, of course, this was a bit hard for me to sit and read. However, I did find that, by reading short segments, of Just Back Off and LET US TEACH I was able to reflect and retain more of the information and suggestions.

As I was reading this I discovered that I wanted to share this with the effective teachers I know so that they can feel a bit of a bolstering of spirit but I also really wanted to share this with the college students I know studying to become teachers. They need to know that it’s not going to be easy but that it’s worth every moment.


Author: Caroline Alexander Lewis
Source: Westwind Book Marketing
Publisher & Date: Dog Ear Publishing, 2014
Genre: NonFiction | Education & Teaching
ISBN: 9781457534607
Pages: 128
Grade: B+
Ages: 16+
Steam: N/A
This Counts for these Challenges: 2015 Let Me Count The Ways Reading Challenge, 2015 New Authors Reading Challenge, 2015 Women Challenge, Monthly Mix-up Mania, 2014 Alphabet Soup Reading Challenge

Author Bio:

Author, Teacher, Reformer

After spending 22 years as a science teacher and school principal, Caroline Lewis became director of education for Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden and developed the award-winning Fairchild Challenge to engage students in environmental issues. As founder and CEO of The CLEO Institute, she applies her educational leadership skills to promote solution-oriented approaches to address climate disruptions. A native of Trinidad, she earned an MS in Educational Leadership in 1999 and is committed to elevating and celebrating the teaching profession.

Learn more about Caroline Lewis: Caroline Lewis's website facebook


Thank you to Caroline Lewis and Scott at Westwind Book Marketing for generously offering this book to me for review.
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