Book Reviews:

Pauline Hawkins‘ book, Uncommon Core, is a book that should be in every household that is bringing up children.  Her discussions centered on the subjects of bullying (a behavior that has defied time and attention and remained, unfortunately, a part of school life), trust, honesty, kindness, respect, compassion, and empathy generally receive some but not enough attention in our classrooms.”

-Sid Glassner from”Inside Education”

“In Uncommon Core: 25 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed in a Cookie Cutter Educational System, Pauline Hawkins shares stories from her 11 years of experiences as a high school English teacher to help parents and students prepare for the American school system.  The tales range from the touching and uplifting to the surprisingly poignant, and they encompass the full spectrum of teen-age students:  the bullies and bullied, the confident and shy, the producers and drifters.  Hawkins forcefully connects with the reader—as she did her students — by laying herself bare, showing her vulnerability, honestly recounting her experiences, good or bad, and imparting what she has learned in the process.  . . . Soulful and wise, Uncommon Core is an important read for all parents or teachers who want to prepare themselves or their children for the current public school experience.”

-Dennis McCarthy, Author of Here Be Dragons: How the study of animal and plant distributions revolutionized our views of life and Earth and George North s A Brief Discourse of Rebellion and Rebels

“Uncommon Core: 25 Ways to Help Your Child Succeed In a Cookie Cutter Educational System is a down to earth guide to helping young people develop the life skills they need for success in school, the work place, and in their personal relationships. . . . Through her recollections, Pauline Hawkins fills in the spaces between how parents experience their children and how their teachers do. . . . She reminds us that no amount of curriculum design, dynamic teaching, student practice, studying, or extra tutoring will substitute for teaching children about listening and communicating effectively and respectfully,  valuing themselves and others, practicing patience, compassion, and honesty, or taking responsibility when it comes to growing up to be happy and successful. . . .  We must never forget that children learn wherever they are, and Pauline translates the wisdom she acquired in the classroom and as a mother into practical advice for parents, teachers, and students themselves.”

-Karyn McWhirter, high-school English teacher (basic to advanced placement courses), yearbook sponsor.

“This book is nothing short of phenomenal! Even though the audience is meant to be more so for parents with kids still in elementary/middle/high school, as a college-age student I was able to relate to quite a few of the chapters (21 and 22, in particular). My favorite aspect to this book is that it centers around life lessons rather than some tired “one size fits all” formulaic approach I’ve seen in most other books. Ms. Hawkins further elaborates her ideas by sharing her own experiences both as a mother and a teacher, and even offers up suggestions on how to build up these skills in your own children. I couldn’t recommend this more highly– it’s a quick and simple read, but the impact it carries is unprecedented.”

-Lauren, Amazon review

7 thoughts on “Uncommon Core

    1. It is available to purchase now, but it won’t be released until April 27th. Click on the link above or to the right to get to the ordering page. Thank you for your interest!

  1. i would be interested to know what, specifically, you have found in the common core that suppresses students’ thinking abilities. I have been teaching elementary students since 1998, and have found the exact opposite to be true of these standards. I have taught in two states with three different sets of standards and find the common core to provoke students thinking to find different approaches to problems. I fear the emphasis on end of grade or end of course tests, not actually the common core standards themselves, has given common core a foul name. Please share with me some of the issues you take with these standards. Thank you for your time and passion for students’ interests.

    1. Thank you for your comments and questions. I will do my best to answer your question.
      I am not opposed to Common Core Standards as much as I am opposed to the way they were implemented, used for these new state tests (like PARCC), and then used to evaluate teachers. I discussed this in a two-part post last year. The new legislation around Common Core created a “perfect storm.” Here is the link to the first post: https://paulinehawkins.com/2014/04/28/part-1-a-brief-history-on-nclb-and-common-core/ Make sure you read Part 2 and click on the links. I created a chart for one small part of the Common Core English standards that demonstrates the problems with them. Even though I take issue with the way the standards were implemented and used against teachers, I am still not a fan of Common Core. My posts explain why.

      My goals in everything that I have written on my blog (my resignation letter included) and my book are to help our children and to bring dignity back to the teaching profession. We are creating a lost generation, and I can’t sit back and do nothing to help them; our children are not commodities. Teachers are professionals who should be trusted and respected; we have dedicated our lives to the education and nurturing of our students. How can our country move forward when the two most important elements of our future are being undermined?

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