“Funny...revealing....So send this book to your favorite teacher. They’ll know you’re sucking up. They’ll thank you anyway.” —People, Book of the Week
This hilarious, inspirational, and wise collection of personal essays and humor from a longtime educator explores all the joys, challenges, and absurdities of being a teacher, following in the footsteps of such classics as Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, The Courage to Teach, and Up the Down Staircase.
Shannon Reed did not want to be a teacher, but now, after twenty years of working with children from preschool to college, there’s nothing she’d rather be. In essays full of humor, heart, and wit, she illuminates the highs and lows of a job located at the intersection of youth and wisdom. Bringing you into the trenches of this most important and stressful career, she rolls her eyes at ineffectual administrators, weeps with her students when they experience personal tragedies, complains with her colleagues about their ridiculously short lunchbreaks, and presents the parent-teacher conference from the other side of the tiny table.
From dealing with bullies and working with special needs students to explaining the unwritten rules of the teacher’s lounge, Why Did I Get a B? is full of as much humor and heart as the job itself.
Shannon Reed has been a teacher and professor in Western Pennsylvania and New York City for the last twenty years. She’s taught preschool, middle, and high school, and now teaches Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and more. Why Did I Get a B? is her first book.
"The winning authenticity of educator Shannon Reed's memoir stems from her willingness to explore her strengths and weaknesses as a teacher."
— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
“Reed is hilarious and humble about the teaching profession: the exact right mix. We see her struggle and thrive, teach and learn, help and hope. It’s a great read for educators—rookies and veterans alike.”
— The Millions
"With an irresistible combination of compassion, humor and engaged storytelling, Why Did I Get a B? is an invaluable and entertaining resource for readers curious about the pros and cons of a career in teaching."
— Shelf Awareness
"Divided into comical essays and sincere meditations, Why Did I Get a B? provides an accurate depiction of how many teachers feel about their careers....An honest look into how teachers' brains work to solve problems and do what's best for their kids while also just trying to stay alive."
"Reflective essays that expose the good and the bad sides of being an educator. Good reading for aspiring teachers."
— Kirkus Reviews
"A starkly honest, at times irreverent view of the triumphs and challenges of teaching. Readers will cheer at Reed’s accounts of student victories and sigh in exasperation at her descriptions of incompetent administrators....Reed’s candid writing about a stressful yet rewarding career will resonate with educators. VERDICT For educators who yearn to see some of their own struggles and joys represented through another teacher’s eyes."
— Library Journal
“This irresistible, compulsively quotable, deeply felt collection will definitely be making the rounds in the teachers’ lounge. A hilarious love letter to the many joys (and occasional heartbreak) of being a teacher in America today.”
— Irina Reyn, professor and author of Mother Country
“This hilarious, very honest, insightful book is perfect for all the teachers in your life, for the parents who complain about their kids’ teachers, and even the students who don't know how lonely and difficult teaching really is."
— Angie Cruz, professor and author of Dominicana
“Smart, witty, and sharply observed. I laughed, I cried, I cringed. But make no mistake—Shannon Reed has written a love letter to teachers. Her cheeky winks and snarky eye-rolls are always buoyed by the understanding that teachers love what they do. They'd have to . . . otherwise they’d never survive the hell we put them through.”
— Siobhan Vivian, professor and New York Times bestselling author of The List
“A hilarious, smart, and painfully honest look at teaching that's also full of heart. Reed isn’t afraid to ridicule the most maddening aspects of the profession, or to admit her own missteps, but she writes about her students and colleagues with a warmth and insight that captures the essence of what education should be. Why Did I Get a B? somehow made me laugh at all the things that frustrate me most about my work as a teacher, while also reminding me why I love it.”
— Anjali Sachdeva, professor and author of All the Names They Used for God
"Funny...revealing...So send this book to your favorite teacher. They'll know you're sucking up. They'll thank you anyway."
— People Book of the Week