Why would a high school teacher who loves teaching leave school—after half a career in the classroom? Teacher at Point Blank answers this question at a time when concerns about school performance, safety, and teacher attrition are at an all-time and often anxious high. Meditating on subtle and overt forms of violence in secondary public education from an up-close and “pink collar” point of view, Jo Scott-Coe defies clichés and cultural fantasies about teachers. She examines her own workplace as a microcosm of the national compulsory K–12 system, where teachers—now nearly 80 percent women—find themselves idealized and disparaged, expected to embody the dedication of parents, the coldness of data managers, and the obedience of Stepford spouses. In this groundbreaking memoir in essays, Scott-Coe recounts her own journey to recover a sane and independent voice. Teacher at Point Blank fuses her perspectives as teacher and former student, adult and child, educator and writer.
Haunted and compelled forward by memories of a classmate who commits suicide on campus, a former teacher-colleague who dies all alone, Hollywood fantasies of the “ideal teacher,” and chronic reports of school violence and increasing gender crime, Scott-Coe reveals how her hopes, past and present, struggle for breath at the point blank of denial, confinement, addiction, isolation, hostility, subliminal eroticism—and, at times, a healthy dose of fear.
Jo Scott-Coe‘s writing on intersections of education, gender, and violence has appeared in many publications, including the Los Angeles Times, Swink, Memoir (and), Babel Fruit, Ruminate, and Green Mountains Review.
“Jo Scott-Coe gives the reader a direct look at public high school teaching with the benefit of an insider’s experiences, rewarding and chilling…” – Amazon reader review.
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