4.75 / 5
OK, actually if I could give it a 6 / 5 I would! I LOVED this book. Despite the fact that it was written mainly for teachers and parents, it has so many of the principles that I think are key when working with young people in any setting that I couldn’t put it down.
Stephen commented on how vocal I was while reading it, I was laughing, crying, mmmhmmm’ing and much more. The End of Molasses Classes by Ron Clark was a fantastic book, an easy read and practical, with tips throughout on what to try to make classes – or in a youth worker’s case, sessions or programs – more engaging for young people.
What I Liked
The Layout – It’s broken down into 101 tips that are short and easily digestible. Not only does Ron do a great job of sharing his experience and personal stories, he engages anyone with a heart for youth with stories of his own students and teachers.
The Pictures – There are pictures throughout the book of the teaching team, the students and THE SLIDE! The Slide is an RCA (Ron Clark Academy) focal point where visitors become ‘slide certified’ and it encourages students, teachers, parents and visitors to live life differently; don’t take the stairs – try the slide! The great pictures draw you in as the reader and really help you connect with some of the stories.
The Letters – Sprinkled throughout are letters from parents of RCA students who share their experiences about RCA and Ron’s teaching methods. They’re honest and give more depth to Ron’s lessons rather than just ‘taking his word for it’ – you have countless letters from parents to confirm his points.
What I Didn’t Like
I’ll be honest – there really wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about this book. As I said, for me, it was unputdownable. However, there is always room for improvement or tweaking so um… the stars that are next to every chapter title, yes, I might change those.
What am I saying?! They were great too – they were small and fun without being distracting! OK, I think I may need to rethink my score at the top.
5 / 5
This book really resonated with me because all of the student, parent and community related tips were EXACTLY how I feel about interacting with and educating youth, whether it’s informally or formally.
It’s also a mission and vision that I can completely get on board with – they challenge youth academically, have creative educators and also provide scholarships to a private school to all children that attend. The majority of the youth that are students at RCA are from lower-income families and without those scholarships, they wouldn’t be able to afford the kind of high quality education they’re receiving.
The fundraising tips at the end were also really helpful, entitled “If you want money, ask for advice – If you want advice, ask for money”. This is a great chapter about building relationships with donors.
Overall, other youth workers might give it a 4.75 / 5 because it’s written to teachers in a formal education setting instead of youth workers but as I said, it’s enjoyable to read, well written and practical, even if you’re not a teacher or parent.
I plan to write posts in the coming months about some of the things from this book that particularly stuck out to me and I highly recommend it to any youth worker, teacher, parent or community partner.
Buy Ron Clark – The End Of Molasses Classes
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