"HELP! I'm Trapped in My Teacher's Body" by Todd Strasser (Scholastic, 1993)
I can only hope that my students do not feel about me how Jake feels about his teacher in the quite comical book titled "HELP! I'm Trapped in My Teacher's Body" by Todd Strasser. While walking through the Curriculum Lab I was trying to think of series books that have been popular since I graduated high school in 1992. The genres that are read today vary greatly from the books that were tops in the library checkout list from JD Darnell High School in Geneseo, IL. Back then the girls were interested in "Sweet Valley High" books and boys only wanted to read about "Star Wars" and "Star Trek".
Today the kids have Harry Potter. Fantasy novels seem to be the way to go when it comes to connecting to today's youth. Since I have already read all of the Harry Potter books I was looking for another series I heard was popular "Goosebumps" by R.L. Stein. He was my intended read for this week, but then a title caught my interest and made me remember a time when a teacher of mine switched place with a student for a subject period in 6th grade because the student thought "teaching is easy, all you do is boss us around."
"HELP! I'm Trapped in My Teacher's Body" was a cute book but fairly predictable. Jake was a troublemaker, hated his teacher, a science experiment went wrong, they switched bodies, Jake learned his lesson, so did the teacher, end of story. It reminded me a lot of "Freaky Friday" by Mary Rodgers. I could almost see the Disney movie now. While I enjoyed the book, I feel that the theme has been used too many times. I was hoping the book would also help the teacher see that his way of teaching was not necessarily the best way to teach to all of his students. Yes, Mr. Dirksen did also learn something from the change, but it was not as prevalent as I was hoping it to be.
However, what I did take from the book was that I want my students to feel as comfortable with me (and I in turn with them), to know when things need to be changed up a bit. I want to be able to tap into ways that will allow my students to learn to their utmost ability. If that means that we need to watch a movie, complete an experiment or bring Art into a Social Studies lesson, then so be it. I believe that this book helped me realize that unlike Mr. Dirksen, I want to offer my students the ability to switch things up a bit.
Until next time, "keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars." (Casey Casum)