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The Three-Legged Woman and Other Excursions in Teaching
Robert Klose

2010 • 228 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
Education / Essays

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-61168-471-1
$14.99 Ebook, 978-1-58465-952-5

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Not only is Klose funny, but he can write too. With sharp humor and pointed commentary, he offers 34 succinct essays describing college life, his students, other professors, the state... [continued in Reviews below]”—The Times Record (Brunswick, ME)

The personal reflections and insights of one professor and writer on the experience of teaching at the “poorest college in America”

Since 1986, Robert Klose has taught biology at a “small, impoverished, careworn” college in central Maine. Located on a former military base, the school became first the South Campus of the University of Maine, or SCUM, and later, Penobscot Valley Community College, then Bangor Community College, and most recently University College of Bangor. Despite its improved nomenclature, University College of Bangor remains an open-admissions environment at which “one never knows what’s going to come in over the transom.” Klose’s nontraditional students have included, in addition to single parents and veterans, the homeless, the abused, ex-cons, and even a murderer (who was otherwise “a very nice person”).

Chronicling his experiences teaching these diverse students, Klose describes with equal doses of care and wry wit those who are profoundly unfit for college, their often inadequate command of the lingua franca, and the alacrity with which they seize upon the paranormal (the three-legged woman) while expressing skepticism about mainstream science. He reflects on the decline of reading for enjoyment and the folly of regarding email as a praiseworthy substitute for expository writing. He details what works in the classroom, identifies what has failed, and relates stories of the absurd, the sublime, and the unanticipated, such as one student’s outburst following a discussion of evolution: “For what you have taught today you shall be damned to everlasting fires of hell!”

Tempering thoughtfulness with a light touch and plenty of humor, these essays prove that teaching, an “imperfect occupation,” remains a “special profession.”

Two essays from the book are available here.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Not only is Klose funny, but he can write too. With sharp humor and pointed commentary, he offers 34 succinct essays describing college life, his students, other professors, the state of higher education, and the importance of the study and use of proper English. Students and teachers will laugh and nod knowingly at these stories, but all readers will benefit from Klose’s careful observations of human nature and the dynamics of technology and poor grammar.”The Times Record (Brunswick, ME)

“One need hardly be a teacher, much less a college professor, to appreciate the wit and wisdom, concern and compassion that pervade this book.” Bangor Daily News

“This is a man with a passion for science and teaching. Readers will enjoy his wry ponderings on the state of both.”Portland Press Herald

“I became a devoted admirer of Robert Klose years ago through his many essays in this newspaper. The Three-Legged Woman & Other Excursions in Teaching - his latest book - has intensified my admiration. Humor, compassion, and a deep understanding of human nature have all come together to make this biology teacher in Maine a brilliant writer. Treat yourself to a good read and get multiple copies to put on your shelf for gifts.”Christian Science Monitor

“Professor Robert Klose has produced a delightful book that will warm the hearts of all educators. The writing is crisp and entertaining and provides a refreshing personal perspective on the sadly unappreciated teaching profession.”—Eric Scerri, author of The Periodic Table: Its Story and Its Significance

“I spent the last two days reading Robert Klose’s The Three-Legged Woman and Other Excursions in Teaching. My only regret is that I didn’t read it earlier. I laughed my way through the book. I think I must have laughed on every page. But this book is not just laugh out loud funny, it is also provocative in the questions it asks about teaching, learning, culture, science, and America today. It is also poignant and moving. It is often all three of these at the same time, an achievement in itself. “Klose knows how to get after the heart of the matter and his writing is a tonic to any cultural observer or overworked teacher, wherever they might be. I found so much that was so resonant to me—both as a teacher and as a human being—that I found myself spending inordinate time reading passages aloud to my family and marking up the margins with comments. I’ve already selected several of the chapters for use in my National Writing Project institutes for teachers this summer. I’ll use them for the substantive conversations they will provoke, but also as models of what the best expository writing can be.” —Jeffrey D. Wilhelm, Boise State University, director of the Boise State Writing ProjectJeffrey D. Wilhelm, Boise State University, director of the Boise State Writing Project

“I must confess. I went to bed with Robert Klose’s three-legged woman and haven’t had this much fun (clear throat) reading in years. It was ‘like whoa.’ Anyone who reads this book will know how much woe I share with Robert about the decline in America’s syllabic civilization and the rise of the library lonely hearts club. What’s wrong with being enamored with a ménage à trois known as simile, metaphor, and the ever sexy subjunctive? A second confession is that I’m in love with Robert’s writing because it speaks so well. You’ll want to share this book with friends and family, who, like you, will want to read it aloud, something I’ve enjoyed since I was nearly new. Thank you, Robert, for giving me an added text for my opinion writing class.”—Nancy Snow, author of Information War and Propaganda, Inc.

“I am humbled, amused, and inspired all at once by Robert Klose’s ‘The Three Legged Woman and Other Excursions in Teaching.’ DO read it, even if you think you’re not interested. Also, I think I may have developed a crush on Charles Darwin.”Rachel Louise Snyder, American University professor, AWP member, and author of Fugitive Denim

ROBERT KLOSE teaches biology at University College of Bangor, Maine. He is the author of Adopting Alyosha: A Single Man Finds a Son in Russia and Small Worlds: Adopted Sons, Pet Piranhas, and Other Mortal Concerns.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:05:13 -0500