Guest Post by Melody McAllister
BookChat with Dr. Casey Jakubowski
Recently, I sat down for a bookchat with Educator and Author, Dr. Casey Jakubowski! He published his book, Thinking About Teaching: A Rural Social Studies Teacher’s Path to Strive for Relevance, and it is a fantastic book that any educator could pick up and feel seen, validated, and might even scream “AMEN!” repeatedly while reading!
In fact, that’s how it feels whenever I talk to Dr. Casey. He has a vision for our educational system that goes beyond stereotypes. He gets real about the anger that many rural Americans feel, but first, he shows us the beauty that exists in these tight-knit communities and how parents of students in these smaller towns really want the best for their kids as much as anybody else.
“What I realized more than anything else is that every child in a community that small is valued. All the teachers know the family and their students. When one of the seniors dropped out, it impacted everyone.”Dr. Casey Jakubowski
The Power of Reflection
Dr. Casey is also very transparent. He talks about his best and worst lessons and what they taught him. Every chapter ends with a reflective question and he wants readers to write all their thoughts down in his book! When reading his work, I could hear him speaking and felt like we were having a conversation.
He challenges outdated practices like student teachers working without pay. He brings so much clarity regarding the impact of zip codes and how they perpetuate the haves and the have-nots. He shares about the importance of relationships as he tells the story of one student who almost dropped out but came back and finished his senior year because of a “chance” meeting with his high school teacher (Dr. Casey) who treated him like an adult. During our chat, he frequently and publicly thanks his friends who mentored him and taught him along the way. He also writes about the importance of mentoring in our education system. If you aren’t following him or reading his work, you are missing out!
A Timely Message
Thinking About Teaching would make a fabulous book study or even a timely gift for a new or pre-service teacher. There are so many gems in this book, from lesson planning to reflection, the power of relationships, and the ignorance we push when we refuse to acknowledge the breakdowns caused by discrimination, racism, and the blindness of a metro-cyntric system that has a dangerous one-size-fits-all mentality and needs to end so that rural education, and education across our entire country, can be relevant for all students and teachers.
Follow Dr. Casey on Twitter @CaseyJ_edu and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaseyJthinkingaboutteaching
About the Author
Melody McAllister is a wife, mother of five, educator, and author. She and her family relocated to Alaska from the Dallas area in 2019. McAllister is 2017 Garland NAACP Educator of the Year and author of the I’m Sorry Story, a children’s book about taking responsibility for mistakes and making sincere apologies. She is also the Logistics Manager for EduMatch Publishing. McAllister has spoken at ISTE and ASTE about equity issues in education, and writes about her journey in her blog, HeGaveMeAMelody.com.