Lessons in Falling by T.B. Perry

Lessons in Falling is the debut collection of poems from Calgary Junior High teacher T.B. Perry. Teaching is one of the most noble professions around and most people do not realize the amount of work that goes into the job. Most of this work is unpaid and under appreciated. These poems examine the life of a teacher and explore the nuances of this profession. There are so many aspects to job of a teacher; educating students, dealing with parents and keeping them informed, navigating the politics and bureaucracy of the job, and keeping yourself motivated and mentally healthy. Mr. Perry, as I feel obliged to call him sine he is a teacher, does a good job in capturing what a day, week, and academic year is like for someone tasked with educating our youth.

The poems in this volume are very introspective and reflective. One thing that really interested me about this collection is the way the author portrayed the emotional strain put on teachers. The narrator of some of the poems talks about seeing students who have obviously been crying, are bruised, have cut marks, and are in emotional distress. One poem in particular really stuck with me, “Hey Teacher”. This poem is about the suicide of a student and the effect on the teacher; I think this poem best demonstrates the psychological toll and ultimate lack of control a teacher really has. You can teach and help until you are blue in the face, but sometimes nothing is enough. T.B. Perry is quite effective in showing the reader this.

Mr. Perry unfolds a world that is cloaked in mystique. We get to know what the person sitting behind the desk at the front of the classroom is really like; the human behind the teacher. We see what the students mean to the teacher, for better or worse in certain cases. I have great respect for teachers and I think this collection can show anyone why they deserve this respect. More info can be found about Mr. Perry and his book at http://tbperry.com/ .

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