Tuesday, April 07, 2009

'Confessions of a Rogue Teacher'

New novel highlights issues in inner-city schools

There have been many movies and T.V. shows that attempt to highlight, through drama or comedy, the issues that exist in America’s inner-city schools. But what is it like, really? "Confessions of a Rogue Teacher" (published by iUniverse) by novelist and retired teacher George Colon, employs plot as a vehicle to communicate the realities of life for an inner-city teacher.

"Confessions of a Rogue Teacher" opens with English teacher Manny Quesada hurrying back to his classroom from the restroom. He has just had what the reader finds out in Chapter 2, an altercation with one of his students, Wilson Contreras. In the course of this altercation, things turned physical and Manny hit Wilson in self defense. This fateful event will drive the entire plot of Confessions of a Rogue Teacher, not only for Manny but for the people around him as well.

As a result of Manny’s altercation, there is an inquiry. Manny is removed from the classroom pending a full review. This is a great blow to a man who had dedicated his life to teaching and at one time held to the ideal that he could help his fellow Puerto Ricans rise up from poverty through education. Now, after twenty years of teaching, Manny is felled by an altercation resulting in a momentary act of anger and impulse. Manny is instructed to report to the superintendent’s office. Unsure of where he stands or if he will even be allowed to return to the classroom, Manny is faced with a new reality: what comes next?

“I’ve been here three days now and don’t know why,” I complained. “I have union rights.” I’d called Peter Goldstein, who told me Joseph Arimet, roving troubleshooter, would contact me, but he hadn’t yet.
“You’ve been placed in this office,” he twiddled his moustache. “I didn’t send for you.” While he let these words sink in, his eyes bore down on me with the sneer of command. “Don’t know what you’ve done - don’t care.”
“I do.”
His eyes softened, though not his tone “When Minerva returns, she’ll talk to you. For now, man a desk, file papers, and handle the phone. Take messages and complaints. Give information. No opinions. Tell callers they’ll be contacted. Mario will break you in. He’s got a problem, too.”

George Colon is a native of Puerto Rico and grew up in the South Bronx. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s on Secondary Education, Colon returned to the South Bronx. He was a teacher there for 30 years. Upon retiring, he began writing. This is his first published novel. Colon has a wife and daughter and still resides in the Bronx.

source: press release

Join George Colon at the Meet the Writers at Small Press Night
7 p.m. April 17
Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Bay Plaza
290 Baychester Ave., Coop City
For more information:
(718) 862-3945

Editor's Note: "Confessions of a Rogue Teacher is also available at the PRSUN aStore:

(photo of George Colon at a book event at Cemi Underground in East Harlem by Ismael Nunez)
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