Beginner’s Mind

Regal House. May 2021. 230p. ISBN 9781646030682. pap. $16.95. ED
McLatchey (classics, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ.) pens a love letter to her fourth grade teacher, Katherine Arthur Dunning, an extraordinarily gifted and unconventional educator who for years taught in the public schools of North Weymouth, MA . The “beginner’s mind” of the book’s title describes the innocence and curiosity of young children, which Dunning (whom McLatchey refers to as “Miss D”) sought to cultivate. The author vividly describes her dynamic fourth grade classroom, where Miss D focused on big ideas, eliminated labels such as “good” and “bad” to describe students, designated the dictionary as a “sanctuary,” and helped hyperkinetic students channel their energy through additional tasks. Interspersed throughout are brief letters from Miss D to the author, charting their enduring relationship over decades.
VERDICT Anyone who has been influenced by a beloved teacher will savor this work; educators will especially appreciate it.
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