|Press Release - Celebrating Oshawa’s Own Author
Graham Ducker, resident of Oshawa, returned from his book tour exhausted, but smiling. He spent a week sharing his new book, “Don’t Wake the teacher,” with those who made it happen in the Fort Frances-Rainy River area of Ontario. Ducker was a kindergarten teacher for the Board of Education in that in area from 1971-1980. He has written a book of memoirs of the experience. As Ducker repeatedly states, the hero of the book is the Morson School, not him. He points out the importance of support from the Board of Education, the community, the parents, and the employees of the school that made it so successful.
The book does several things for the reader. It is a how-to book for good teaching. It shows how things have changed in our education system. It makes us laugh. And it leaves us with hope that others involved in education are giving the same dedication to the teaching profession.
Ducker was the kind of teacher that gave his all to the task. He spent time on the weekends building sandboxes and cupboards for the school. He talked his wife into making posters of the nursery rhymes for decoration. He thought up tools that would help the children learn in an easy, enjoyable way. And he shares these ideas for teachers who are just starting out in the profession. But probably more important than anything that he teaches in this book is to know your children’s needs. If a child came into the classroom looking exhausted, and some did on Monday mornings, he would “ask them if they would like to just take a mat and curl up somewhere. With a nod, they would take their coat, drag a mat to some isolated spot, which was usually under the sandbox, and be asleep in seconds.” This allowed the child to return to the activities with vigour and enthusiasm. This kind of caring is further illustrated in his reference to watching one of his students eat his lunch. “...John would carefully spread out his paper napkin upon which he would arrange his sandwich, (sometimes it was something in a thermos), his drink his fruit and his treat. Long after the classmates were out playing, John would be progressing steadily through his feast.” There is no sense of condemnation, just observation. And this is seen most clearly in the classroom situation where he listens to the children and adapts his lesson plans accordingly. When a child asks how birds make nests, he takes time out to do an exercise where all the children try to make a nest. When another wants to know how big a whale is, he doesn’t just give the answer, he takes the children outside and they make a whale out of snowballs. But in his innovation, he never forgets the children’s safety. When he recognizes that snowballs in winter can lead to tears, he makes up a game. The children have fun but learn not to throw hardpacked snowballs, eliminating the possibility of anyone getting hurt.
The compassion and care for children is throughout the book. Alan N. Nichols, host of Rogers Lifetime Durham, summed up the book best when he said on his program that he thinks it should be required reading in all Ontario schools.
Graham Ducker will be launching his book “Don’t Wake the Teacher” in Oshawa at the ... on Saturday, November 20 from 1:00 to 4:00.
Kim Grove - Media Release Press Release