Book Review

Never Too Old to Teach

How Middle-Aged Wisdom Can Transform Young Minds in the Classroom

by Neil M. Goldman, Rowman & Littlefield Education, Lanham, Md., 2009, 327 pp., $36.95 softcover

Author Neil M. Goldman was born to be a teacher, although he had no interest in becoming one. He spent 15 years professionally in the world of high technology before moving into a classroom.

Never Too Old to Teach

In Never Too Old to Teach, Goldman blends humor and a wisdom that comes with age and experience. As he says, “One of the advantages of being older is a certain level of self-confidence and mental stability that I don’t think is possible to have when you’re 22.”

This book chronicles his student teaching and his first year as a high school special education teacher. Goldman’s deep caring and his desire to help his students become self-sufficient citizens and not just high school graduates raises the impact of his teaching and what he has to share.

This is not just a book for those coming into teaching later in life, although those who fit that description will immediately identify with much of what the writer shares. Why change careers? Because, he says, “when you’re a teacher, you realize that you matter.”

Goldman uses anecdotes and illustrative stories to make his points, and his wit and experience make each story memorable.

The first year is not easy with students who talk back, parents who tear up notes he sends home, master teachers who are anything but masters and colleagues who have burned out. However, Goldman manages to make every obstacle a learning experience. He maintains a positive and supportive attitude toward his students and says, “Maybe the system will break me, too, and make me hold popularity as more important than academic rigor. But it hasn’t yet.”

Reviewed by Bob Schultz, instructor, Chapman University, Davis, Calif.