Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Please welcome Guest Author, Terry Crawford Palardy

For thirty years I worked in classrooms of grade one through eight, both general education and special education, in all content areas. I was blessed with what one of my principals called the “Golden Ticket,” or certification that covered all of that and more. Today’s teachers are not as fortunate: they are asked to narrow their credentials to fewer years, and most recently, to one area of specialization. It’s a little like medicine … very few family doctors, many specialists who seldom meet with or converse with each other. As a result of this narrowing, students as young as eleven may see as many as seven different teachers in a day. This was common at the high school level when I went to school, but is now filtering down to upper elementary grades.

While there, I didn’t sit idly by and watch the changes occurring in my profession; rather, I wrote about them, and noted the repetitive cycle of such changes… phonics to whole language back to phonics; arithmetic to modern math back to basic algorithms… science text books to collaborative experiences back to individual multiple choice standardized tests … because I was there for thirty years, I was able to witness and participate in the full cycle of educational change, from beginning to the extreme opposite and back around to where we had started.

Every three years throughout these changes, I listened as budgets were debated and contracts were negotiated. And I realized that the sways of the economy had a different effect on teachers related directly to whether they were young, or confidently established, or peacefully finishing their careers. And I took note of those differences, and arrived at a rational assessment of how the budget fluctuations impacted public education.

I took these observations and submit them to a professional scholarly journal, the Phi Kappa Phi Forum. I worked as their Education and Academics columnist for a term of three years, and then, by invitation, beyond. When I retired I resurrected those columns and self-published them as a small book, realizing that the cycle would repeat again, and again, and knowing what to expect would help those caught in the maelstrom of change to confidently hang on and move forward. You can read those columns and their chronicle of change in the book titled Teaching Volume I: Education and Academics at the Turn of the Century.

Of course, while all the financial arguments and educational reform requirements were evolving, students were moving through the system with their teachers. One receives only one year of first grade, and one year of second, and so on, regardless of where the budget swings land. And so I wrote a second book, lighter in tone and featuring the teachers and students, the social side of education, and collected those in a book titled Teaching Volume II: Stories Reflecting the Classroom. A little prose, a little poetry, a bit of humor and some of sentiment make those pages lighter reading and a pleasant counterbalance to the serious tone of the first book. Friends who have read them have suggested that they be available to new teachers, to parents sending their oldest child to school for the first time, and to school committee members as required reading. While I’m flattered by the idea, in reality, the likelihood of that happening is slim. But my role in recording the cycle of education and some of the stories is fulfilled. My books are there for the reading, for those who are looking.

If you, as a parent, or taxpayer, or local advocate want to know from the inside what those changes have brought to the classrooms, please look for these two books. They are each available at, and Barnes and Noble online, in print (see links below)

In an effort to make them available to the next generation of teachers, they are also on Kindle for $.99.

Teaching I - Kindle:

Teaching I - Print:


Teaching II - Print:

You can find some of the reviews for these two books on Amazon.

I’m planning to step out of the non-fiction genre for my next book. I’ve been reading and reviewing a number of mystery novelists, in an effort to better ground myself in that genre. To see those reviews, visit me at  I’ll be back to let you know when my school-based murder mystery is close to completion. Meanwhile, please take a look at these first two books … they cost less than a cup of coffee, and offer you so much more!

You Can Visit Terry at:

Find Her Books at:
Also Stop by Her Page at Facebook, Terry's Thoughts and Threads

Please welcome Terry by leaving a comment below.


Morgan Mandel said...

Welcome to Acme Authors Link, Terry. After 30 years experience, you sound like you were well qualified to write your books about the teaching profession.

Morgan Mandel

Jeffrey Penn May said...

Hi Terry,

Interesting points. My wife taught grades one through four. I've taught 7 trough 12, college, and adults. Being able to change grade levels offers new perspectives and often revitalization.

Anne Duguid Knol said...

Thank you Terry. We have not yet reached the stage of specialists before High School but all your other observations hold true here in the UK too.
New teachers and older students are often upset by the changes. I'm okay. The latest round of new maths directives takes me back to what we were doing in the eighties :-)
Pretty sad state of affairs...

Maryannwrites said...

Thanks for the inside story on what goes on in the cycles of education. It sure has changed since so many of us started off to our first day of school with two pencils and a blue tablet. LOL

Your books should really be of interest to teachers and retired teachers. That second one would be a lovely gift for one.

Anonymous said...

Its great to meet Terry! School sure has changes for my kids since I went. Good luck to you and your books! And enjoy the non-fiction writing. That will be fun.

Helen Ginger said...

Very interesting to read about the cyclical nature of what is taught. We had a bit of that on the college level when I was teaching, but I think it's more prevalent in grade school.

Stephanie Burkhart said...

Very interesting, Terry. I didn't realize how "specialized" teaching had become, especially since I still have kids in elementary school. Thanks for your insights.


Quilters' Quarters said...

Thank you, everyone, for your positive comments and interest in my books on teaching.

I wasn't sure how this post would be received, as it is a non-fiction genre. Most of what I've read on blogs has been fiction/mystery genre, and I'm looking forward to being more involved with that.

Writing the essays and stories of teaching has been a wonderful way to end my career. I'm glad so many of you have stopped here to check them out!


Cheryl said...

Wow! Education has been on my mind lately too. I just posted about an article from the WSJ about teacher rankings being publicized in NY.

I like how you took your area of expertise and used past observations to create your books.

Wishing you the best,


CA Verstraete said...

Welcome Terry, interesting to hear that like everything, in education they often try to reinvent the wheel. Good to hear someone's take from years of experience. said...

Very niec!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I bet a lot of those changes are so frustrating.

Mayra Calvani said...

Nice to meet you, Terry, and thanks for the informative post.

Best of luck with your upcoming mysteries. You should just go for it!

write research paper said...

This is so cool..thanks so much for the info. Love it! said...

Welcome Terry! Like this post!

roll call the book said...

Thanks for the article! I'm new at marketing my work, can I be a guest writer? Here is my latest work. The author of Underdog, Glenn Langohr, takes you on a journey back into prison as he remembers a prison riot days before his release date where he left his friend on the way to Pelican Bay...

The story follows the author years later as he visits his friend in Pelican Bay during a prisoner developed hunger strike against sadistic and cruel guards who get off on their isolation and enjoy adding violence to their torture.

A spotlight on the flaws at how Pelican Bay determines gang validation and solitary confinement.

Quilters' Quarters said...

Thank you for all the great comments, and again, my thanks to Morgan for hosting me here.

I've just interveiwed another non-fiction author at my blog; Dr. Linda Cheek has authored Target: Pain Doc. I'm sure she would appreciate your stopping over there to read my review of her book, and our interview!


Margot Justes said...

Hi Terry,
Welcome to Acme. I'm a little behind shcedule here. I enjoyed your post.

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