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The Realities of Teaching

Who’s Tougher Than Us? The Realities of Teaching is a collection of true stories entirely from the author’s personal experience as an educator.  She shares three kinds of stories.  Student stories, both good and bad, tell of the student who came to school with his books, pencils, razor blade, and suicide note, and of the student who yelled her name in a department store to tell her how well she was doing three years after being in her class, all because this teacher broke a rule. Also, it is not impossible to pay $2 and stop a student from having temper tantrums.


There are also everyday teacher stories, such as the drama surrounding the copy machine.  She includes the top and bottom ten lists of teacher life where she shares the joy of the Catch Up Day, the adventures of field trips in the rain, and why you need to keep an extra shirt in the classroom.

Finally, there are stories about administrative issues, such as trying to follow the statewide seating mandate in a room where the desks just don’t fit, or navigating dress code policies that cause more problems than they solve.  Teaching is a complex profession that is in trouble, as evidenced by our current teacher shortage.  It is by examining the issues that drive teachers out that we can bring teachers in.


In Donna Gerard’s words, “I loved every day as a teacher, including the days I hated it." Teaching can be exciting, infuriating, painstaking, or hilarious, but it is never boring. Unfortunately, education is in trouble because of low pay, needless overregulation, and mindless testing that disregards the needs of students.”


Teachers of all stages, from brand-new classroom teachers to veteran educators, will relate to Donna Gerard’s experiences and see themselves in these stories.

Home: Welcome

Donna Chiera
NJAFT President

Anyone who has taught will say, 'I know that student. I know that administrator.' Gerard shows how the documentation of teaching has become more important than the actual teaching of our next generation. This book touches the reader's emotions.

Jeremiah Kleckner
Teacher, Coach and Author of Major Decision

As an educator for what feels like time immemorial, I am eager to learn from anyone who has mastered a classroom. Who’s Tougher Than Us? exposes Donna Gerard as the kind of teacher you had back when you weren’t old enough to value her genuine integrity and respect for the job. While so many books on education attempt to reinvent teaching and sell you a small fortune of useless merchandise, the deeper meanings in Donna Gerard’s experiences cut to the core of the most egregiously ignored skills that help new and veteran teachers establish a thriving classroom environment and manage professional responsibilities. Any community of educators should add this title to their shelves immediately.

David Aretha
Award-Winning Author

Not sure what’s going on in today’s public schools? Gerard, a longtime teacher, gives us an insider’s perspective on students, fellow teachers, and the dreaded rules and regulations. Some stories are shocking and heartbreaking; others hilarious and inspiring. Who’s Tougher Than Us? engaged, informed, and often entertained me. It’s a highly valuable book, particularly for those who aspire to be teachers.

Diane D.
Retired Special Educator, Reading Specialist, and Administrator

Rarely do you find a book written by a veteran of an industry who so candidly lays out the rewards and challenges of the profession. Gerard has done exactly that for teaching. Current teachers will groan in solidarity about daily battles over students, copiers, testing, paperwork, parents, and administrators, and will smile at Teacher Validation Days, the camaraderie between colleagues, and the universal dread of trying to teach the period after lunch.


For newer teachers, forewarned is forearmed. Perhaps this glance into authentic classroom life will prepare them for some of the rough spots they will undoubtedly face, and stem the tide of bright young minds leaving the profession. The kids need you more than ever!

Carolyn Moran
Retired Teacher

If I could give you a golden award or a million roses, I would. You were a very dedicated and loving teacher. Your memoir is great!


I loved every day as a teacher, including the days I hated it.

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