Finishing School – General Contemporary Fiction, Humor
A comical treatise on the absurdities of public education today.
Veteran public school teacher Wendy Taylor begins her year with the usual hopes of reaching her 6th graders in a way that will have a lasting positive effect on their lives. Those hopes are compromised, however, when the district’s new plans to comply with recent state legislation surrounding teacher evaluations and pay for performance are revealed by the principal. The bureaucratic mess this entails has Wendy and her colleagues shaking their heads in disbelief.
In addition, Wendy finds herself targeted by the new assistant principal, who has his own views on what Best Practices entail. Nothing Wendy does is right and she struggles to maintain her equilibrium in this trying new world she now inhabits.
While this book addresses some serious trends in education, it does so in humorous vein: Wendy’s class is unbelievably trying, her inner voice makes editorial comments about everything, and her outspokenness about the situation at hand entertains her colleagues on a daily basis. Things come to a head when Wendy discovers the real reason her evaluator has come down so hard on her, after which she makes a few decisions that land her in hot water with the district.