STANDING LESSONS is a wry, witty, and bittersweet story of Jack Bartley, a history teacher, coach and dorm master in a small rural New England private school. Although satisfied, almost complacent with his life, he encounters challenges to his powers as an effective teacher and coach as well as to his sense of self worth and his most cherished values. But this novel is more than the story of one teacher. Virtually every aspect of a traditional private school is touched upon directly or indirectly: a senior faces expulsion for dishonesty and discovers that giving up is more noble than persisting; a young girl dreams of sometime gaining equity with boys in their traditional world; a disciplinary case divides the faculty with little hope of resolution; a student's private problem verges upon a compromise of privacy. Most of all, however, a dialectic in which the principles that underlie the teaching of morality emerges and through which the question of the morality of teaching itself becomes a central philosophic issue.
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Published March 22, 2002
Literature & Fiction.