MEET THE TEACHER
A thumbnail sketch of McTaggart's personal background, and an extensive look at her teaching career. She shares her reasons for writing the book, and speaks candidly to the people her book addresses: parents, teachers, and politicians.
READY, SET, GO
Suggestions for toddler and pre-school activities, toys, and games that help insure success once the child begins school.
IS HE READY?
Twenty-four milestones for parents to consider when deciding whether or not their five-year old child is ready for kindergarten.
NICKING THE TIES
Author explains the importance of gradually breaking the bonds of dependency between a primary age child and his parent, and gives step-by-step instructions on how to do it.
Most mothers are employed outside the home and a lot of them feel unwarranted guilt about the fact. This chapter explains how a working mother can hold down a fulltime job, support her child's academic endeavors, and still maintain her sanity.
Parents of struggling students avoid parent-teacher conferences, and teachers of struggling students avoid giving parents the whole "unpolished" truth about a child's weaknesses. And the student's problems continue to flounder. This chapter offers parent-teacher conference suggestions for both parties, including estranged, separated, and divorced parents.
GET A "SUB"
This chapter offers a detailed plan for procuring a fill-in "sub" if the parent has to miss a school function due to work, illness, or emergency.
THE "B" WORD
Some children say they are bored when in fact they are struggling academically. Their boredom claim is actually a subconscious attempt to find a scapegoat. This chapter tells how to determine whether a child is bored or struggling, and what to do about it once the determination is made.
THE REST OF THE STORY
"Schools no longer teach phonics" is a universally accepted myth. In this chapter McTaggart explains how this misconception came to be so widely accepted. She ends the chapter with these words: "And who's to blame? Teachers, we'd better hide our mirrors!"
A WEIGHTY PROBLEM
This chapter discusses the causes and ramifications of childhood obesity, and offers suggestions for prevention and treatment.
NO ZOMBIES ALLOWED
McTaggart responds to the accusations that say teachers want kids "drugged" for the purpose of maintaining control in their classrooms. She lists the possible side effects of medications commonly prescribed for ADHD, and compares those effects to what she actually observed during her forty-two-year teaching career.
HOW DO YOU SPELL CNDRGRTN?
Talks about why Developmental Spelling should be encouraged in the primary grades, and why it should be discontinued after third grade.
In this chapter McTaggart examines and strongly criticizes the No Child Left Behind legislation.
A SPECIAL WEDDING
A discussion of the strong bonding that usually occurs between student and teacher, how that bonding affects student learning, and the negative repercussions that develop when a parent's negative attitude toward the teacher destroys the bond.
THANK YOU, TEACHER
"Good manners" are going the way of the dinosaur, and it is giving our world a less-than-enjoyable environment. In this chapter McTaggart talks the importance of teaching our children good manners, and gives suggestions on how to do it.
GOD BLESS THE USA
U.S. students consistently rank lower than many of their counterparts in other industrialized nations, but there is a justifiable reason for this. Our educational system is not perfect, but neither is it a cause for shame. This chapter explains why.
McTaggart says kids are being introduced to the computer too soon. This chapter gives suggestions of age appropriate learning and recreational activities that the toddler and primary child should be doing in lieu of the computer.
JUST FOR FUN
Five funny kid stories, plus a poignant one that tells what a parent receives (besides sticker shock) for the $160,140 that it takes to rear a child from birth to age 18.
McTaggart discusses the national teacher shortage in ESL, math, science, and special needs. She criticizes the alternative teaching license laws that have been enacted by 49 states, and offers (what she believes to be) a better solution.
This chapter, primarily for parents, offers numerous suggestions on how to get a struggling or reluctant reader away from the computer and into books.
THE ABC's OF HOMEWORK
Discusses common negative tactics parents often use when dealing with homework, and suggests positive replacements.
WELL, BULLY FOR YOU
This unique chapter includes recommendations for the parents of bully victims, and also for the parents of bully perpetrators.
An over abundance of extra-curricular activities is exerting excessive pressure on today's kids. In this chapter McTaggart tells why the child's family life, school achievement, and ability to make choices all suffer when he is over-scheduled.
MARCHING TO A DIFFERENT DRUMMER
Some kids - those excluded from the clique and those who are targets of taunting, teasing, and cruel jokes - simply don't "fit in." This chapter tells how teachers and parents can help these kids sand down their rough edges and increase their likelihood of peer acceptance without sacrificing their individuality.
NO MAGIC NUMBER
Students' academic success is directly related to class size and class make-up. This chapter suggests maximum-number guidelines for average classes at different age levels, and discusses situations when that number needs to be altered.
FORGET THE LAWYER
When do I support my kid? When do I defend him? When do I enable her? When do I allow my child to suffer the consequences of his actions? When do I call the lawyer?
PROMOTION VS. RETENTION
Factors for teachers and parents to consider when deciding if a child should be retained, or placed (not necessarily promoted) in the next grade.
KEY TO SUCCESS
Parental involvement has a greater effect on a child's success in school than does the child's intelligence, the amount of money spent on education, or the quality of the teacher.
THE REAL SCOOP
McTaggart displays her keen sense of humor in this humorous satire on teachers.
"HE AIN'T HEAVY FATHER..."
This chapter is a tribute to the millions of parents that support our schools, our teachers, and ALL of our children.
Students, parents, and teachers share end-of-school-year reflections on their non-academic gains.