Classrooms in the Real World
Practical Advice from a Veteran Teacher
Published: January 2020
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Published: January 2020
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Published: January 2020

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Published: January 2020
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5.5" x 8.5"
Language: English

For the past 35 years, Scott Mandel has been teaching students in an urban Los Angeles school district. In addition, he instructs teachers in professional development courses. In those classes, he’s known for telling stories—stories gleaned from his time spent in the classroom. Classrooms in the Real World is a collection of many of those stories, presented as a set of teachable moments—a practical how-to book for new teachers, one based on interacting with kids on a daily basis. Rather than providing educational theories about what should be, Mandel shares real-life stories of how to relate to your students, administrators and parents, along with his thoughts on how to deal with the multiple curricular and classroom challenges that all teachers face in the real world. Chapters such as "Kids Don't Care How Much You Know As Long As They Know You Care," "Take Curricular Chances," "Administrators Want You To Succeed," "Keeping My Sanity All These Years," and “What Have I Learned” will give you the reader practical ideas, philosophies and encouragement from a long-time classroom teacher, someone still in the classroom sharing the lived experience of teaching in today’s school environment.

Perfect for courses such as: Introduction to Teaching | Classroom Management | Student Teaching

Table of Contents:


My Motto of Life and the Dedication Associated with It

Introduction—Why Am I Writing This Book?

Setting The Context for All of This

1. How It All Started

2. These Ain’t the “Good Ole Days”

3. How My Students Saved My Life and the School Year

4. Let the Kids Know You Can Have Fun, Too

5. Kids Don’t Care How Much You Know as Long as They Know You Care

6. If I Don’t Talk about Discipline, You Won’t Read This Book

7. Public School Kids Deserve the Same as Private School Kids

8. Have Heroes

9. Get Rid of Your Ego

10. Support Your Home Team

11. Take Curricular Chances

12. Administrators Want You To Succeed

13. Beware of Smoke Machines

14. Why I Refuse to Use an Online Grading Program

15. Numbers Don’t Always Add Up—And Fair Grades Take Some Effort

16. Don’t Fill Your Car Trunk with Your In-Service Class

17. Special Ed Kids Are Like Everyone Else

18. So Are Non-English Speakers

19. Leadership as a Student Trait

20. The Multiple Intelligences Really Work

21. Make ’em Laugh

22. Parents Are Your Greatest Allies

23. Keeping My Sanity All These Years

24. My Retirement Plan

25. What Have I Learned?


Reviews & Endorsements:

"While textbooks can provide a foundation for theory and what “should” happen, Mandel’s experiences provide realistic glimpses of what “really happens” and “what being a teacher really means” (p. xvi). His anecdotes offer a window into a variety of classroom experiences, allowing prospective teachers as well as practicing teachers to reflect on various situations and think about how they might effectively engage with students, families, and administrators in a positive, respectful manner. His engaging anecdotes remind his readers of the importance of knowing a teacher’s impact on a child’s life. “This isn’t a 9-to-5 job” (p. 120). Teachers in the classroom need to keep things in perspective, be honest, enjoy their students, be themselves, and let students know they care." (Read the full review at Teachers College Record.)

Reviewed by Sandra Pech for Teachers College Record, ID Number 23362

"Dr. Scott Mandel is an accomplished teacher. His new book allows him to combine his experiences, insights and humor in a manner which permits him to share an array of practical suggestions for classroom teachers. Most memorable among his tools, tips and timesavers:

  • Be an advocate for your students
  • Correct the behavior—not the student
  • Leave your ego at the door
These and other tips are interwoven with personal observations and memories. A valuable resource for both veteran and novice educators!"

Peggy Taylor Presley, Director, Human Resources Division: Teacher Support and Development Program

"The best way to know where you’re headed is to understand where you’ve been. In this volume of lively anecdotes, Dr. Mandel sends us snapshots of his experiences in the classroom, and then delves into how what he’s learned applies to teaching today. Veteran teachers will nod their heads and grin as they think, 'We really used to do that, didn’t we?' For educators just joining the ranks, this book has even more value—Dr. Mandel provides a roadmap for what to do (and what not to do), but more importantly, he shines a guiding light on what is possible in the future of education."

Brian Muller, Specialist, Peer Assistance and Review Program; Former Advisor for District Intern Program; Former Secondary Teacher

"With a collection of relatable and applicable stories, Classrooms in the Real World illustrates the delicate balance between following one’s instincts as an educator, and meeting the modern requirements of the job. Dr. Mandel shows that a good teacher does what she believes will excite and inspire students. This book is invaluable to a both novice and veteran teachers who find themselves being pulled in different directions by students, colleagues, administrators, district officials, researchers, and their own guts."

Amanda Corr, Second Year Teacher

"Dr. Mandel’s latest offering is a must-read. Whether you are a veteran teacher, wet behind the ears, or somewhere in between, this is the book for you! His sound and practical advice, wrapped in layers of skillfully spun memories from his long career, will make you laugh, think, and probably come away with at least one ah ha! moment for your own practice."

Abigail Abbott-Perez, Veteran Secondary Teacher

"Dr. Mandel presents snapshots of his most authentic teaching moments and experiences. He takes you on a journey into what teaching is really like. As a veteran educator, Mandel gives you practical advice and insider tips to help navigate through the complex and unpredictable nature of the teaching profession. This book is an insightful read for new teachers and anyone wondering what it’s really like to be a teacher."

Leila Shapiro, Veteran Elementary Teacher

"A combination of wit, wisdom, humor and practical experience, Classrooms in the Real World: Practical Advice from a Veteran Teacher should be considered essential reading for anyone aspiring to being a classroom educator."

- Midwest Book Review, Feb. 2020