Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Book Review: The Thread That Runs So True by Jesse Stuart

The Thread That Runs So TrueThe Thread That Runs So True by Jesse Stuart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This classic was an interesting read. Jesse Stuart used to be a household name and this book was quite famous, though I'd never heard of it until it was recommended to me. It's about Stuart's teaching experience in one-room schoolhouses and other rural schools. He was an old-time teacher who got out of the profession as it was in the process of changing into what it is today. It was good for me to get his perspectives, both as a very young man and one with more experience, and to see some of the things that teachers were up against in those times. He thought that more professional schools and teachers would help with many problems in the school system. He advocated for this, and for many changes that took place slowly in his lifetime. He discussed various issues such as small-town politics, poverty, and even violence, as these things affected the schools and his own life. He was quite zealous about the value of education -- made me think of John Gatto's discussion of the "true believer." His perspective changed somewhat in the end as he realized that the schools were turning into a vast assembly line system and the individuals getting lost within it, while teachers still weren't earning enough income to feel they could even support a family. While he still loved teaching, he eventually left it behind to return to farming, the profession of his roots, and to finally marry the woman he loved. What I most appreciated about this book were the methods he used to reach people educationally, to help them grow as learners; the peek into another time in our country's educational life and his unique perspective on it; and his insights that came later as the schools became more systematized and consolidated. Aside from these things, he tells some pretty amazing and amusing stories as well.

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  1. I had never heard of this book, but it looks like it would be really interesting.