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For the Love of Learning

A Year in the Life of a School Principal

LIST PRICE $17.99

An illuminating and refreshing memoir about a year in the life of an elementary school principal, outlining the joys and challenges—for teachers and students—of education today.

Outside of home, children spend more time at school than anywhere, and teachers play an important role in their young lives. Teachers inspire, nudge, support, and help students through many difficulties, both academic and developmental. And yet we almost never hear about what’s really happening in school.

Kristin Phillips taught grade school for years before becoming a principal, helping to guide not just students but also staff through better learning. Here, she takes us through a school year, from the excitement of fall, through the long days of winter, and into the renewed energy that comes with spring. Through her eyes we experience the increasingly complex education system: children with disruptive behaviours, teachers attempting new practices (some more successfully than others), and even parents who need a little help parenting.

As she walks us through this year, we’re introduced to the many problems that she faced, but also those of the students and teachers she worked with. What’s the best way to address bullying in the classroom and school yard? What do you do with a five-year-old who won’t stop cursing in class? And importantly, how do we ensure all students are learning?

And these are just the concerns Phillips faced during school hours. At home, she reckoned with her own family’s problems. Recently divorced, Phillips shares the ups and many downs of parenting three teenagers, one of whom at times suffers from debilitating mental health issues.

With the realities of Covid-19, the importance of schools and their vital role for children—and all of society—has never been clearer. Phillips takes us into the classrooms, hallways, and principal’s office, revealing the innovations happening in our schools and also the areas where education can do better.

With honesty and compassion, Phillips gives a human face to the very real challenges educators work to overcome, one year and one student at a time.

Kristin Phillips is an educator and retired elementary school principal with a passion for educational change. She works closely with teachers and administrators at the school and board levels to bring about pedagogical reforms based on current research and practices. She lives in Kitchener, Ontario.