Review Blog

Feb 26 2020

Dear parents by Gabbie Stroud

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2020. ISBN: 9781760875268.
(Age: 16+) Subtitled Letters from the teacher - Your children, their education, and how you can help. Gabby Stroud was a dedicated teacher for fifteen years. In Dear Parents, she shares her thoughts about education, parenting and the parent-teacher relationship with the parents of a year 5/6 class.
The text consists of a series of emails sent to parents at intervals during a school year, and organised into four, one-term chapters. Unlike the professional detachment which usually characterises teacher-parent communication, Gabby's emails are frank and revealing. She discloses the exhaustion that results from trying to meet the needs of her students, the demands of parents and the education system's expectations. She also manages to find time to parent her own children. Gabby's experiences provide evidence of the complexity of teaching as she copes with a multitude of commitments while catering for the learning needs of a class with diverse backgrounds and needs. Classroom experiences give rise to reflections about what she considers to be the negative impacts of the crowded curriculum and standardised testing, both of which she finds demoralising. Gabby's assertive responses to parents' comments, questions, criticisms and praise are based on her willingness to learn from experience and on her empathy for people of all ages and backgrounds. Her writing ranges from blunt descriptions of everyday life to candid observations about Australian schooling and perceptive insights into the nature of learning. Although the characters and setting are fictional, many teachers will identify with her longing for the 'Magic Moments' when students learn, as well as with her frustrations and weariness. Parents may find that her revelations help them to understand the challenging conditions in which teachers strive to encourage and enable learning. They may also realise why some dedicated teachers, including Gabby Stroud, have left the profession.
The author of Dear Parents is passionate about her vocation. She has drawn on her personal experiences as a teacher in order to raise fundamental questions about education in Australia.
Elizabeth Bor

BUY IT ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries