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One Woman's Struggle to Keep the Heart in Teaching

by Gabbie Stroud

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 27/06/2018

RRP  $29.99 $24.25

A powerful and moving memoir about how the current system is letting down children and parents, and breaking dedicated teachers. Devastating, heart-breaking, enraging.

Watching children learn is a beautiful and extraordinary experience. Their bodies transform, reflecting inner changes. Teeth fall out. Knees scab. Freckles multiply.

Throughout the year they grow in endless ways and I can almost see their self-esteem rising, their confidence soaring, their small bodies now empowered. Given wings.

They fall in love with learning.

It is a kind of magic, a kind of loving, a kind of art.

It is teaching.

Just teaching. Just what I do. What I did. Past tense.

In 2014, Gabrielle Stroud was a very dedicated teacher with over a decade of experience. Months later, she resigned in frustration and despair when she realised that the Naplan-test education model was stopping her from doing the very thing she was best at: teaching individual children according to their needs and talents.

Her ground-breaking essay 'Teaching Australia' in the Feb 2016 Griffith Review outlined her experiences and provoked a huge response from former and current teachers around the world. That essay lifted the lid on a scandal that is yet to properly break - that our education system is unfair to our children and destroying their teachers.

In a powerful memoir inspired by her original essay, Gabrielle tells the full story: how she came to teaching, what makes a great teacher, what our kids need from their teachers, and what it was that finally broke her. A brilliant and heart-breaking memoir that cuts to the heart of a vital matter of national importance.

'Gabbie's story needs to be shouted from the rooftops. She very eloquently shows us why and how education needs to change…Teacher made me laugh and cry. I loved it!' - Kathy Margolis, former teacher and activist.
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‘As gripping as a novel. As raw as a memoir. As important as anything I’ve ever read about education. Jane Caro, bestselling author, columnist and broadcaster

‘An achingly heartfelt personal reflection on the way bureaucracy dehumanises and compromises our teachers and our children…how the joy of teaching can be turned into despair, and how children are becoming less important than outcomes. Heartbreaking.’ Noni Hazlehurst AM, actress, writer, director, broadcaster

‘Gabbie documents the inside story on the harm done to kids and teachers in our stressed-out, test-driven schools. Schools, especially primary schools, need to be based on relationship and a love of learning, yet we are doing the very opposite. Intense, personal, and impassioned but also crystal clear about what has gone wrong, and therefore, how to fix it. Steve Biddulph AM, bestselling author

‘Moving. Insightful. Funny. Sad. Gabby Stroud was a gifted teacher. She loved and nurtured her students, she was proud of their achievements, they made her laugh and cry. But the system ground her down, and teaching left her. She is a loss to the profession, and the children she might have taught. Her journey is a lesson for everyone who cares about education and the future of our children - and the country. How can the system be made to work better? How can we respect, recognize and reward the professionalism of teachers? Gabby Stroud brings these questions to life...with a passionate insider’s insight, from the classroom, staffroom and the principal’s office.Julianne Schultz AM FAHA, Professor and Editor of The Griffith Review

‘What do we want for our children when they start school? What kind of teacher does any family want for their young ones? I want a teacher like Gabbie Stoud. PLEASE! Gabbie’s story of a gifted teacher’s experience shows what might be possible if we changed the policy settings to allow good teachers to do their job, attending to their students rather than documenting forever to demonstrate ‘standards’ and ‘be accountable’. Every citizen needs to read this book, feel the author’s love for teaching and think about what would need to change to keep good teachers influencing our children. Marie Brennan, Extraordinary Professor, Stellenbosch University, South Africa / Honorary Professor of Education, Victoria University, Melbourne / Adjunct Professor, University of South Australia

Teacher is a story of one teacher’s love of teaching and her ultimate heartbreak as the education system finally took everything she had to give and left her broken. Unfortunately, Gabbie’s story is a story that also belongs to many other teachers. ‘The love and commitment she shows to her students, the guilt that she experiences as her students get the best of her and her own daughters get the crumbs that are left, the overwhelming exhaustion she feels as her plate is piled higher, the frustration of spending so much time being forced to do what she knows is not best practice and does not benefit her students, all these things are palpable in Gabbie’s story. ‘This is such a valuable story to tell and to be heard. Gabbie was broken because the system is broken. Teachers all over the country are breaking and even worse than that are the effects this system is having on the mental health of the students. Students are breaking too. The joy has all but been sucked out of classrooms as standardised instruction and assessment have taken over from the creative art that once was teaching. ‘Gabbie’s story needs to be shouted from the rooftops. She very eloquently shows us why and how education needs to change. Teachers like Gabby (once a teacher always a teacher) have so much to offer. Passion and wisdom are powerful things and she has them in abundance. Teacher made me laugh and cry. I loved it!’ Kathy Margolis, education advocate

‘In this powerful and poignant memoir, we share Gabby Stroud’s lived experience of what it really means to be a Teacher. Her wonderfully creative and compassionate teaching journey highlights each day’s joys and challenges and increasing demands - until finally it all becomes too much. Beautifully crafted, honest and authentic, this memoir has the potential to help us understand – and potentially rescue - the profession. A must-read for all who care about the future of teaching.Robyn Ewing AM, Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts, The University of Sydney

‘Gabrielle Stroud details the minutiae of one teacher’s life in a brutally honest individual account so well that it becomes a universal story. Her slow burn of passion, compassion, emerging skill, hope and dread, but above all the humanity of the most humanising professions, provides great insight into the costs and benefits, triumphs and tragedies of teachers’ work. You’ll laugh and cry. But you will really learn about life as a teacher. A must-read for all considering the profession.’ Philip Riley, Associate Professor of Educational Leadership, Australian Catholic University

'Teacher by Gabrielle Stroud is a heartfelt and moving memoir about one woman who wanted nothing more than to teach our children and inspire them with her own big-hearted warmth, generosity and love of learning. Instead she finds herself broken by a system that cares more for data and demographies than young minds and spirits. She shines a penetrating light on all that is wrong with the Australian education system and how it fails both our children and our teachers. Impossible to read without choking up, this is an eloquent rallying cry for change and should be mandatory reading for all politicians and policy-makers. Luminous and heart-rending.’ Kate Forsyth, bestselling author of Bitter Greens

‘Gabby Stroud has written a poignant book that explores her personal story of the good, the bad, the inspirational and inexplicable in the life of a classroom teacher. She was incredibly capable, passionate and committed - and yet she was eventually defeated by the forces of curriculum change, the pressure of incessant accountability and the disempowerment and disrespect that has impacted the teaching profession. Her story is becoming sadly all too common and it is Australian children who are missing out on a better education.’ Maggie Dent, bestselling author, parenting & resilience educator

Gabbie Stroud

Gabrielle Stroud was a primary school teacher from 1999 to 2015. Now a freelance writer, her debut novel, Measuring Up, was published by Scribe in 2009.

She is currently at work on her next novel. Her book Teacher: One Woman's Struggle to Keep the Heart in Teaching has sparked debate all over the country and made her the hero of teachers everywhere.

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