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Short Synopsis
In this funny and honest work, Nicholson Baker writes about his experience as a substitute teacher and provides us with a complex, often touching look at public schooling in America.

Full Synopsis
In 2014, after a brief orientation course and a few fingerprinting sessions, Nicholson Baker became an on-call substitute teacher in a Maine public school district. He awoke to the dispatcher's five-forty a.m. phone call and headed to one of several nearby schools; when he got there, he did his best to follow lesson plans and help his students get something done. What emerges from Baker's experience is a complex, often touching deconstruction of public schooling in America: children swamped with overdue assignments, overwhelmed by the marvels and distractions of social media and educational technology, and staff who weary themselves trying to teach in step with an often outmoded or overly ambitious standard curriculum. In Baker's hands, the inner life of the classroom is examined anew as the author and his pupils struggle to find ways to get through the day. Baker is one of the most inventive and remarkable writers of our time, and Substitute, filled with humor, honesty, and empathy, may be his most impressive work of nonfiction yet.

"Narrator Zingarelli’s meditative tone exemplifies Baker’s musings on the pitfalls of the U.S. education system. Zingarelli also achieves a distinct, often playful voice for each of the cast of students, from elementary-schoolers to teenagers, as well as the rotating teachers and ed techs." ---Booklist Audio Review

"[Tom Zingarelli's] rich, deep, slightly fuzzy voice dips and soars, quickens and slows, and renders heartfelt character voices that ring true." ---AudioFile

"Compelling, enormously detailed, [and] endlessly surprising." ---Booklist Starred Review

"[Substitute] abounds in artful observations and snippets of dialog with children, and in this compares favorably to a classic of the genre: Tracy Kidder's Among Schoolchildren." ---Library Journal

"An amusing, spontaneous-feeling narrative . . . An affecting . . . snapshot revealing real-life concerns." ---Kirkus

“Baker’s book may be the most revealing depiction of the contemporary American classroom that we have to date." ---New York Times

"Narrator Tom Zingarelli provides a wide range of voices for the many characters appearing in the story. Highly recommended for listeners interested in an outsider's perspective on the state of American education." ---Library Journal Audio Review
Booklist Review

Substitute

Going to School With a Thousand Kids

Author Nicholson Baker

Narrated by Tom Zingarelli

Publication date Oct 25, 2016

Running time 23 hrs

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