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A few years ago a video popped up on my Facebook feed. A principal by the name of Gerry Brooks had created a video my teacher friends were loving. Of course I watched it. I laughed until I cried and then I followed him.

That’s how this story begins. Gerry Brooks is a principal down in Kentucky. He understands teachers. He listens to our whining and has turned it into laughter. What an incredible gift!

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Gerry Brooks has taken his success with videos and is now trying his hand at being an author. His new book, Go See The Principal has been loved by many according to the Amazon Reviews. After watching countless videos from the beloved principal, I can hear his voice as I read.

The book is written in the same style as his videos. I have watched so many of his videos that I now hear his voice (and accent) when I read. This book is intended as a light-hearted, humorous look at education that expands upon his very popular YouTube video series. In among the scripts and references to his videos, you will find new nuggets of wisdom.  

Introduction

Learn all about Gerry Brooks and his career in education. Discover the 3 C’s (Communication, Compassion, and Compromise) every school must have to function successfully (Communication, Compassion, and Compromise). 

Part 1

Setting up before school starts is essential to success. We all know we must be prepared and Gerry Brooks gives us his advice with humor. Learn about finding your perfect grade, the importance of the PTA, building teams, school supplies, and more.

My favorite part of this section was the discussion on the importance of having a good relationship with the bus drivers. Personally, I have never made any effort to include the bus drivers or have thought of them as an essential part of our school team. This definitely changed my mind. 

Part 2

Gerry Brooks discusses the importance of forming parent partnerships in the second part of his book. Everyone in education knows that a good relationship with the parents is essential. We also know that it can be strained. 

While doing the research for this review, I found several sites where parents were upset with how they are portrayed.  I get it. I’m a parent. These videos were created, in my opinion, to help teachers laugh at themselves and the situations we find ourselves in. That does not mean Spoonvision and others are wrong… I think it just means that they were not the targeted audience for viewing. We would need someone else to make a video of all the things teachers do to irritate parents. I am sure I would find these equally as amusing. 

Part 3

Food. Glorious Food! This would be my sons favorite part of the book. If it involves food.. you have his whole attention. This is true for many of my students as well.

There are a lot of great do’s and don’ts in this section regarding the lunchroom. During the first week of school, I meet with the cafeteria staff and then bring my students down to introduce them to the manager. Feel free to read my back-to-school lesson plan post to find out why this is important. 

It also covers the importance of lunch time for teachers. What teachers should and shouldn’t say in the break room and why this time of day is essential to the culture of the school. 

Part 4

Life is stressful, even if you are only a child. I love how Gerry Brooks isn’t afraid to address the stress levels our students face and how they affect their ability to learn. 

Every child can be successful, every child is unique and every child learns at his/her own speed in his/her own way. Teaching children requires us to jump hurdles every day to help them succeed.  America’s favorite principal breaks down some of his favorite tips, stories, and suggestions for us. 

My favorite part of this section was in regards to the issues of technology and social media. I love how he explains that it is a double edged sword that needs to be used with caution. 

Part 5

Welcome to the office of Gerry Brooks, Elementary Principal in Kentucky and also knows as America’s Favorite Principal. Part 5 is all about the inner workings of his office and the staff that supports the school every day. 

My favorite part of this section was the chapter on all the things that teachers do during meetings. Meetings are not my favorite thing. If it is relevant then sure but most of the time it can be sent in an email. I got a giggle out of the antics while reading this as I can see my fellow teachers in this. 

Part 6

Part 2 focused on parents and administrator communication. Here we are to part 6 of this book and back to discussing communication with parents. This time we are taking a closer look at how parents and teachers communicate. Gerry Brooks provides many list of tips on how communication between parents-teachers should look like during various circumstances and how we can improve communication. 

Part 7

School can and should be fun! There are a lot great things happening in Elementary Schools around the country. 

My favorite part was the discussion on student athletes. Principal Brooks says the most important word is student. So many parents forget that their child’s job is to be a student first. Yes, I want my students to have fun but I also want them to know that their education is important. 

Part 8

At the beginning of every school year, we focus on setting rules and expectations for our students. This includes proper manners. What is usually skipped over is the rules and expectations of the staff members. 

Gerry Brooks includes a section on proper etiquette on the school grounds. It is a great reminder that while you may feel like you live at school… you don’t.

Part 9

This section is titled “Extra Credit” and I believe it is the perfect ending to this book. There are no more video references. This is about Gerry Brooks the educator not Gerry Brooks the character played in the videos. 

Honestly, this was my favorite section of the entire book. There are several different lists of 5 that breaks down the answers to questions teachers ask most. What makes a great teacher? What do students need to succeed? Information on a wide range of topics from flexible searing to writing to sustaining a relationship.  There are 17 different lists and each one is invaluable. 

Conclusion

Despite the repeated content from the videos, I did enjoy the book. I would recommend it for someone who is wanting a good laugh and doesn’t have internet access. It is a light summer read. 

It also has the potential to be made into a book study. Each part can work as a conversation starter on how to create best practices for your class and school. If you plan on starting one, please let me know and I would be glad to assist.