Since 1986, Robert Klose has taught biology at a "small, impoverished, careworn" college in central Maine. Located on a former military base, the school became first the South Campus of the University of Maine, or SCUM, and later, Penobscot Valley Community College, then Bangor Community College, and most recently University College of Bangor. Despite its improved nomenclature, University College of Bangor remains an open-admissions environment at which "one never knows what's going to come in over the transom." Klose's nontraditional students have included, in addition to single parents and veterans, the homeless, the abused, ex-cons, and even a murderer (who was otherwise "a very nice person").
Chronicling his experiences teaching these diverse students, Klose describes with equal doses of care and wry wit those who are profoundly unfit for college, their often inadequate command of the lingua franca, and the alacrity with which they seize upon the paranormal (the three-legged woman) while expressing skepticism about mainstream science. He reflects on the decline of reading for enjoyment and the folly of regarding email as a praiseworthy substitute for expository writing. He details what works in the classroom, identifies what has failed, and relates stories of the absurd, the sublime, and the unanticipated, such as one student's outburst following a discussion of evolution:"For what you have taught today you shall be damned to everlasting fires of hell!"
Tempering thoughtfulness with a light touch and plenty of humor, these essays prove that teaching, an"imperfect occupation," remains a "special profession."
Publisher: University Press of New England
Number of pages: 228
Weight: 295 g
Dimensions: 216 x 140 x 20 mm
"Not only is Klose funny, but he can write too. With sharp humor and pointed commentary, he offers 34 succinct essays describing college life, his students, other professors, the state of higher education, and the importance of the study and use of proper English. Students and teachers will laugh and nod knowingly at these stories, but all readers will benefit from Klose's careful observations of human nature and the dynamics of technology and poor grammar."-- "The Times Record (Brunswick, ME)"
"One need hardly be a teacher, much less a college professor, to appreciate the wit and wisdom, concern and compassion that pervade this book."-- "Bangor Daily News"
"This is a man with a passion for science and teaching. Readers will enjoy his wry ponderings on the state of both."-- "Portland Press Herald"
"I became a devoted admirer of Robert Klose years ago through his many essays in this newspaper. The Three-Legged Woman & Other Excursions in Teaching - his latest book - has intensified my admiration. Humor, compassion, and a deep understanding of human nature have all come together to make this biology teacher in Maine a brilliant writer. Treat yourself to a good read and get multiple copies to put on your shelf for gifts."-- "Christian Science Monitor"