I recommend to teachers, parents, anyone concerned with educating children, a new book: Taylor Mali's "What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World." And teaching can be just that - for the right person, at the right grade level.
Positive: I believe this book will give harried teachers new hope for their profession. Nonteachers will gain an appreciation of what we go through. Yes, I am a teacher - a substitute teacher, who spent 5 years getting his bachelor's.
Now, I can hear a lot of people saying, "Oh, only a substitute, not a real teacher." I am a real teacher - one of many kinds and not a glorified baby sitter. We are a vital part of getting the job done.
Negative: After enjoying 22 chapters, I came to Chapter 23: "The Importance of Mentoring." Mali condemns substitute teaching as a "miserable" experience. He describes us as killing time with mindless, button-pushing tasks.
I think that viewpoint comes from the fact that he (apparently) worked only at the middle school and high school levels. It's not for everybody. If he had tried elementary, he might have made a different report. I love it. I love being a necessary part of the children's lives. Getting in early, preparing, being ready to rock and roll when the kids come in the door. Then the fun begins. Try it. You might love it too.