By and large, No Fear In My Classroom offers one man’s opinion on how to deal with fear in the classroom and fearful aspects of being an educator. While many of his points are possible, most of them are unlikely to occur and could needlessly frighten you. As he says, though, it’s always good to plan ahead even if improbable.
I have to admit up front that I was skeptical of Mr. Wootan because he had been in the insurance business thirty years prior to becoming an educator. I kept asking myself, “What brought him into education at such a late stage? Extra money? Research to write books? Or a burning desire to enter a profession he’d always dreamt of?” Sadly, he never directly answered my questions, though I do admire him for freely discussing his past as a businessman and often giving examples as to how it helped serve him as an educator.
No Fear In My Classroom takes a rather common sense approach to teaching, and if you’re not a first-year teacher, you probably already know your thoughts on many of Wootan’s topics. Some of his “fear” subjects were a bit over-the-top in my mind, however, if nothing else, Wootan’s book is a good vehicle for reflection and, in some cases, even gave me new and helpful ideas.
I wouldn’t describe Wootan’s writing style as particularly dynamic, though it is easily digestible. He makes a point to offer some very interesting statistics as well as noting a few beneficial websites. It’s written in a very businesslike fashion, which would stand to reason considering his background.
If you’re a first-year teacher, Wootan brings up several points that are probably good to think about, though most of them will never occur in your classroom. Just try not to become overwhelmed by the possibilities he brings up. I think if you’re a seasoned teacher and you’re capable of picking and choosing what you want to take to heart from what you read, No Fear In My Classroom is also a helpful refresher.