Sunday Book Review – They Call Me Mom by Pete Springer

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I was delighted to finally get to reading Pete Springer’s wonderful book on his memoirs of how he finally became a teacher, and his sharing about how he became a successful and nurturing teacher, offering a wealth of worthy advice that any teacher should be reading to help them strive to excellence.

Blurb:

Who Will You Inspire Today? Teachers face this challenge and responsibility each day, but in the process, the author discovers that his students can also have a profound influence on him. Pete Springer takes you on his memorable thirty-one-year journey in education as an elementary school teacher and offers the many valuable life and teaching lessons he learned along the way. Get ready to laugh out loud at some of the humorous and memorable experiences that all teachers face, feel inspired by the inherent goodness of children, and appreciate the importance of developing a sense of teamwork among the staff. Learn valuable tips for working with children, parents, fellow staff members, and administrators. This book is ideal for young teachers, but also a reminder to all educators of the importance and responsibility of being a role model. This book is a must-read for all new teachers and those teachers that need a reminder they are human!

Mr. Springer educates others in his easy-to-read, story-like, first-hand manuscript. You will laugh, cry, and get motivated to be the best educator you can. After reading this, I have a better outlook on relationships with my colleagues and am reminded to savor every moment. -Tami Beall (Principal, Pine Hill School)

My 5 Star Review:

I am going to start this review by saying that every teacher should read this book! The author begins this book by sharing his journey of becoming a teacher. That wasn’t his original plan as he tried to figure out through various other jobs, what he wanted to do in life. The universe certainly led him to the right place. This book reads like a memoir, and it surely is a recounting of Springer’s teaching, but also offers a wealth of lessons for educators and parents.

The author shares information about how to be a great teacher, with more than just knowing the curriculum. He describes the various things he did in his teaching years to not only educate his students, but to teach them about compassion for others, sharing, kindness, inclusiveness, as he goes the extra mile to grow their self-esteems, helping them to become worthy of themselves. As the author says himself, he played many more roles than just a teacher.

Springer gives praise when it is deserved to validate his student’s accomplishments and discipline when warranted in a fashion that didn’t criticize, nor embarrass a child, but with speaking gently so the child could learn the errors of their ways. He shared some of his own hurdles, pitfalls and accomplishments to give insight to his students so they could find a common ground and understand that even the teacher made mistakes. He found best methods of organization in classrooms after assessing his kids and grouping them where he deemed they’d fare best, and disciplined justifiably with understanding for the students, rewarding them for great accomplishments. Show and Tell in class was used for a student to demonstrate an accomplishment, while teaching others in the class something useful. These are the positives an adult can instill in a child to grow their pride moving forward in life. This teacher even spent special one-on-one time outside of a school project to form bonds.

Springer then goes into his interactions with parents because of the importance of them appreciating what they need to know about their child, including some of the more challenging discussions teachers may encounter with parents and how to handle those situations. Similarly, he shares the importance of interacting with both colleagues and the boss (the principal). He discusses good working relationships, sharing different teaching techniques, getting along, the importance of not gossiping, and sharing info without crossing privacy boundaries. He talks about discipline, how to discipline so the child learns their mistakes in a positive light. As he explains, if you only berate a child, all they would take from that is retreat, hurt, and wouldn’t learn to grow from their mistakes.

Springer offers excellent insights for all teachers to understand there is so much more to being a teacher than just teaching curriculum. He shares his own insights as to why he used certain methods and why they were effective.

Springer shares some personal stories of memorable moments, and students, how he rectified certain situations that every teacher will encounter, and his passion for teaching and its rewards. He covers a lot of ground, from the importance of laughter – embarrassing moments teaching health class, field trip shenanigans, even the sad topic of preparing with drills for lockdowns. He even covers the state of affairs currently with teacher shortages, supply room shortages, and how he went the extra mile bringing things in to give his students a great and enjoyable education.

Springer was so much more than just a teacher to his students. And it’s no surprise why some of them would call him ‘Mom’ by mistake, as they felt that comfortable with this remarkable teacher.

This book is not just for teachers. I think it’s an excellent understanding for every parent who have children in the school system. Often parents don’t know all of what goes on with their child in school. But teacher Pete had an excellent execution of keeping parents informed and engaging with them.

Β©DGKaye2022

128 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – They Call Me Mom by Pete Springer

  1. Thank you for your kind words, Debby. You’re timing is impeccable. My wife and I just returned from the wedding of one of my former 2nd graders. I was quite touched that she decided to invite us. Watching previous students grow into responsible young adults is what I call one of the delayed rewards of teaching.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This book sounds wonderful, and I have looked at it before, but your wonderful review has made me go to check and make sure it’s on my list. Congratulations to the author for a book that sounds like a delights as well as a useful read for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Olga. It was never my plan to write this book; it just happened. I decided it was my way of paying it forward to the next generation of teachers.

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  3. I agree with your five star review, Debby, and that every teacher should read this book. Pete was an amazing teacher in the classroom and continues to teach (in different ways – through writing) in his retirement. He’s an inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you know, Norah, there are many different paths in teaching. Your route is particularly great because you can reach so many people across the globe.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve enjoyed connecting with experienced authors such as you, Jan. I’m trying to take my cues from those who have been doing this well for a while. Love the new profile picture!

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    1. When you’re fresh out of school, it’s a bit startling to be driving the train. Most new teachers are so busy trying to survive that they probably don’t have much time for reading. Every new teacher needs to hear that we all have bad days, often for no apparent reason. That’s why mentor teachers play an important role in a teacher’s development.

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      1. good point, Pete. I am sure time to read for pleasure is probably in short supply when youa re first starting out as a teacher. Your book would make a great graduation gift – that way the teacher to be can read it over the summer! πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Debbie – it does sound an inspiring read … and I can quite see your point re the book needs to be read by so many in this field, or adjunct field… thanks for the review – cheers Hilary

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Hilary. Disciplining children is one of those subjects that many adults need help with. Discipline isn’t about punishing; it’s an opportunity to teach kids without humiliating them.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I had this exact situation happen at school. One of my students inadvertently asked “Grandma” for help. I liked to joke around with my students and said, “If your grandma and I look like each other, then one of us (grandma or me) has a problem.πŸ˜‰

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    1. Test scores don’t measure the success or failure of a student. How children feel about school, learning, and themselves are more important. The best learning happens when children feel safe, happy, and loved.

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    1. Thanks, Robbie. I’ve enjoyed talking about raising children with you over the past couple of years. Parents like you make a teacher’s job much more manageable.

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      1. Teachers can also do a better job of being more inclusive of parents. There are those who sincerely want to help and are great to have in a classroom and others who, frankly, are more trouble than they’re worth. It is up to the teachers to keep the parents informed and part of the equation because there are times when we count on parents’ support.

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    1. I’m finding my groove in retirement. One of my best weekly gigs lately has been reading to assisted living residents. Debby has been one of my favorite bloggers for quite some time. Nice to meet you, Lauren.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve got a special appreciation for all teachers, Chery. I’m still close with my former colleagues and organize a monthly retirement lunch. What level did you teach?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I taught mostly upper division high school students! My focus was a study on comparative religions, exploring where our values intersect. Once in a while I was able to snag a sophomore class and we dove into the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament! I loved my students! Best job ever!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s fantastic, Chery. If a teacher doesn’t have a love for their job and students, the students aren’t going to have as rich an experience.

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    1. What a kind thing to say, Liz. Every day is another opportunity to contribute to the world/community and improve somebody else’s day.

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  5. Thanks a lot for this raving review, Debby. I’m confident and convinced Pete’s book is excellent and packs a wealth of stories, tips, and helpful information. I would love to read it one day. If only I had more time.

    I’ve been following Pete’s blog for a while and have the greatest respect for him, his personality, his priorities, his passions, his focus, and so much more. He is a great person and an excellent writer.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are one of the most fascinating people I know, Liesbet. Living on a boat or out of a van has probably crossed most people’s minds from time to time, but few of us ever seriously consider it. Then, there are folks like you and Mark who just go for it.

      Wow, to all those compliments. Somebody better pop my big head.😊

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a tough time to be an educator as we face a nationwide teacher shortage. A recent survey said nearly 50% of teachers are contemplating a career change. ☹

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      1. I can sympathise with that.

        Maybe we will witness a great upheaval in our educational systems both sides of the pond.
        I’m in the UK.

        And this is not detrimental to your own teaching methods by any means.

        But education has become parrot fashion and even from my school days back in the 60s, much of what I was taught didn’t enhance my job applications. And while I dare say if you were going onto further education it would have.
        But how many students from University now struggle to get jobs? As many firms want experienced. πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ.
        But then again I’m talking days we left school aged 15, and had to help put bread on the table for our parents.

        I do think the whole system. Is in need of a overhaul. But again this is my own personal opinion.
        And is not reflective of your own skills or input, or dedication to your teaching methods.

        I’m talking about the education system in general.

        Somethings need changing or as you say, there will be no more teachers left to teach.

        Many thanks for your reply.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks for sharing your opinions, Sue. Education does need an overhaul. Doing everything the same way when clearly some parts are not functioning as well as they could be is part of the problem. When it comes to reforms, teachers need at least a seat at the table. I’ve been a part of changes made by politicians that made no sense. It’s frustrating and demoralizing when the government implements changes that any educator know will never work.

        I’m discouraged to see many fabulous teachers flying the coop because of poor conditions and insufficient support. We could see most of this coming (not Covid) for years, and now that we’re experiencing a massive shortage, suddenly the standards of earning a teaching credential in some states are lowering. That is definitely the wrong way to address the problem.

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  6. Pete has carried all the passion and persistence he demonstrated as a teacher into his retirement years. Not actually “retired,” Pete is enjoying his next phase as an author and enthusiastic supporter of other writers, myself among them. I follow his blog and look forward to his next book. Thanks, Debby, for showcasing this deserving teacher turned author this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just like you, Marian, retirement for me means teaching in different ways. We’re on similar tracks, and I look forward to reading your book when it’s ready.

      Got to runβ€”off to read to seniors in assisted living. I love this part of retirement.

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  7. What a fabulous review of Pete’s book, Debby. I thought the conversational tone and anecdotes from his days in the classroom really brought his experiences and suggestions to life. And your last paragraph was right on – an excellent book for parents too who want to understand more about what happens in the classroom/school. Congrats to Pete on the wonderful review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the middle of your busy blogging tour, Diana. I got more views than just about any day since I started my blog. So, what’s it like to be so popular?πŸ˜„ I’ll bet it’s a great feeling to know that you have so many people who admire your writing.

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      1. Lol. Happy to stop by and share my thoughts about your book, Pete. Always. And thank you again for hosting me. It’s always a busy day, but so fun to see visitors old and new. I just adore this community, and you and Debby are a big part of it. πŸ˜€ πŸ˜€

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    1. Though our education classes helped, the real learning happened the day we started teaching, Carol. I remember looking out at my class on the first day and thinking, “Holy cow! I’m in charge of all this.” A bit overwhelming at first, but we found our groove.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My label for Jennie is “Teacher of teachers,” Debby. She connects with everyone, but I know we educators look to her as an example of what teachers should be.

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    1. Thank you, my friend. I hope you’re off to another great school year. Reading to seniors at assisted living is starting to taper off, but I’m going to reach out to the library again today. I’ll keep you posted. Thanks again for the Jim Trelease book.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Pete, you are most welcome. It looks to be a great school year. We have teachers and children out sick to start school, some with Covid, so that makes the first few weeks a bit unsettled We’ll be on a roll in no time. I’m sorry that that reading to seniors has tapered off. Why do you think that happened? I hope reaching out to the library is successful. I had my first Book Bears at the library last week. That’s when everyone brings their favorite book from the summer. It’s a meet and greet, and I can assess kids and reading levels. WELL, most of the kids said their favorite book was The Wild Robot. I didn’t expect that, as it’s not a new book. This made me change my reading aloud to the sequel. They had no idea there was another Wild Robot. That was exciting.

        I’m glad you have the Jim Trelease book! His stories are cemented in my memory; the kid from Russell Kentucky, the Junior High School teacher in Boston, and Cuban cigars. I hope you felt the same way. I’m one lucky person that he visited my classroom.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’d say primarily to the ever-changing conditions of the residents. It’s always a bit of a crapshoot as to who will show. Sometimes they end up in the hospital for a time. Other times they’re just not up to coming. I get it, as their cognitive abilities and health are all over the map. One lady who used to take notes seems to be a shadow of herself in just a few months. A couple of them fall asleep as soon as I start reading. There are two others who follow the story and laugh at appropriate times. The people are most engaged when I’m simply talking to them, which I try to do a few minutes after I finish reading. It’s largely been a success, and I don’t regret doing it. I’m playing it by ear. I’ll continue to show as long as I’m connecting with some.

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    1. I’m still totally invested, Lisa. I just attended the wedding of one of my 2nd grade-students this past weekend. I’m a big sap anyway (the kind that gets teary-eyed from dog food commercials).🀣 It meant so much to me that she thought of inviting me. I hope you got a chance to share with your Grade 1 teacher how much she meant to you. It’s a big deal to most teachers to earn your students’ admiration.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A great review, Debby and Pete is a wonderful soul. No wonder his students looked up to him and many have stayed in touch. Pete and you are a special part of this wonderful community. Pete your legacy is heartwarming. From you and Debby it is all heart led. ❀ xXx ❀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw, thanks so much my Lovely friend for your kind words. But I’m totally with you on what you said about Pete.
      Hugs and love your way, and keep me posted when the new blogsite goes live. ❀ xxxx

      Liked by 2 people

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