Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I want to go everywhere I haven't been, and back to everywhere I have been.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Teenagers 101

I was not compensated for this post, other than receiving a complimentary copy 
of the book Teenagers 101, in order to write this review. All opinions are my own.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

Did you have a teacher who really made a difference in your life?

I am convinced that my high school Social Studies teacher,
Mr. L., had a significant impact on my career path, 
and ultimately my entire life. 


I just didn't know it at the time.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up,
so when it was time to apply to colleges,
my guidance counselors, being of cookie-cutter mentality,
 recommended the same mediocre schools to everyone.
 For some reason, Mr. L. took me under his wing,
and even met with my parents, 
to strongly recommend that I apply to some more challenging colleges.

I did...and I got accepted to all of them,
opting to go to Rutgers.
When it was time to declare my Major, I chose the least of all evils,
with my thought process going something like this...

Math? Too dull.
Science? Too hard.
English? Too impractical.
Spanish? Muy unexciting. 
Communications? Too...

Wait a minute...that means studying about television?
Well, ok, I love tv...

Sign me up for that Major!

If it wasn't for Mr. L., the kind of teacher who went the extra mile, 
I would not have ended up at a college that had a School of Communications, 
which ultimately set me on the path to a LONG and satisfying career in television. 

Thank you, Mr. L.
I wish I knew how to contact you to tell you in person.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

After reading Teenagers 101: What a Top Teacher Wishes You Knew 
About Helping Your Kid Succeed, 
I strongly suspect that author Rebecca Deurlein
 is one of those teachers who dons her running shoes on a regular basis, 
in order to go that extra mile for her students. 
After all, she starts her book by saying she loves teenagers.
That alone earns my sincere awe and admiration! 

Ms. Deurlein has been a high school teacher for 17 years, 
having taught thousand of kids, from all socio-economic backgrounds, 
all races and cultures, of all abilities...and coming from parents 
with all kinds of philosophies and beliefs.
 Your kid? She's worked with kids like that. 

After all, as a teacher, she gets to see how our kids do their work, how they interact with their peers, and how they handle a myriad of situations. 
She's got eyes and ears on the ground, in an environment that we aren't privy to...
unless of course, we have shape-shifting abilities, 
and can morph ourselves into that proverbial fly on the wall.
 Oh, what I wouldn't give!

Teenagers 101 is a handbook that gives parents guidance on many different academic topics that cause us ongoing angst.
 The chapter titled "Too Old To Run To Mom and Dad" deals with knowing when parents should get involved, and when they should step back.
Although it feels great to be needed, and even better to help our kids, 

there are times we should simply back off,
and let them figure things our for themselves.

"...We do not relinquish our parental responsibilities when our children become teenagers; we merely wean our growing children of their dependency on us."

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

  Take, for example, the text Jr. Goo Shoes sent me today, 
while he was at school.

"I ran out of money in my lunch account. Can you bring a check to school?"

"No, I can't. You'll have to figure something out."

 When he got home, I asked how he managed for lunch.

He said he borrowed money from a friend, and was able to buy a sandwich...

 "...but no drink and no snack, so I was walking around 
all day with a flaming buffalo-chicken mouth.

You can't make this stuff up.

Another chapter deals with how to get teens to accept responsibility, 
like not putting the blame on someone else...

"But, mom, I swear the teacher tricked us and put stuff on the test 
that she didn't even teach yet..."

...and another on whether parents should still be involved in homework 
and extra-curriculars. I gravitated instantly to the section titled  
"It Drives Me Crazy That They Check Every Single Grade I Get."
Uh, guilty, your honor.
And when I read that many online grading systems allow teachers 
to see how many times parents have checked grades...I freaked!

That could be embarrassing. 
I vowed right then and there to look at the gradebook 
only a couple of times a week from now on...
starting right after I check just this last time today. 

The author covers other topics, such as how to get the most out of parent-teacher conferences, understanding the value of Advance Placement classes, 
and whether college is the right choice for your child.
And...if your kid wants to know why he can't wear shorts and a t-shirt 
to Uncle Bob's wedding, you'll enjoy the chapter on  
"Making Sure Kids Know That The Way They Look and Sound Matters," 
whether it's how they dress, how they "look" on social media, 
or how they address adults.

Teenagers 101: What a top teacher wishes you knew about helping your kid succeed (by Rebecca Deurlein) Reviewed by Ms. Toody Goo Shoes

  This parenting of teenagers is pretty complicated stuff. 
Fortunately, there are books out there like Teenagers 101 to help educate us on how to find the right balance between being there just enough...
but not too much...for our on-their-way-to-adulthood-teenagers.

"For all of these years, you've been poking and prodding your children along. Then they get to high school, and people tell you to back off, to let them fail, and to force them to face the consequences of their decisions. Nothing is easy about that transition. But you have to hang in there, adjust your stance, find the balance and then hold it, the whole time breathing deeply through the effort and the strain. If you can do that, you'll come out stronger.
OK, I'm breathing. 
I just hope I don't hyperventilate before senior year.

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  1. I just got an email from the local junior high about an orientation for my son next month. I'm a nervous wreck because it's a huge school and there's no hand holding. He can't even remember to bring books home to study at this point. I can only imagine how nerve wracking high school is, and then college!

  2. Dear Amy, Good review and advice. xo Catherine

  3. OMG…I need to read this book immediately!

  4. I work with teenagers every day, I know how challenging they can be, but it's fascinating to see them evolve into future adults.

  5. I totally relate to this book and your post! Our current problem is too much praise for our son by his teachers putting him in the position of having to live up to really high expectations....go figure!!

  6. I'm not a parent, but I am a middle school teacher for almost twenty years . . . THANK YOU for NOT taking your son lunch money!!! : ) I wonder if I can give these out at the next open house? Ha!


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