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August 14 , 2010

The Great Expectations School

A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle


At the age of twenty-two, Dan Brown came to P.S. 85 as an eager, fresh-faced teacher. He was even as-signed his own class: 4-217. Unbeknownst to him, 4-217 was the designated “dumping ground” for all fourth-grade problem cases, and his students would prove to be more challenging than he could have ever anticipated.

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Intent on being a caring, dedicated teacher but confronted with unruly children, absent parents, and a failing administration, Dan was pushed to the limit time and again: he found himself screaming with rage, punching his fist through a blackboard out of sheer frustration, often just wanting to give up and walk away. Yet, in this seeming chaos, he slowly learned-from the more seasoned teachers at the school and from his own mistakes-how to discipline, teach, and make a difference. The Great Expectations School is the touching story of Class 4-217 and their teacher, Mr. Brown. But more than that, it is the revealing story of a broken educational system and all those struggling within and fighting against it.

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