A Year on the Brink

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AuthorHouse, Mar 31, 2009 - Fiction - 540 pages
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A Year on the Brink recounts a year in the life of veteran middle school teacher, Randi Jacobs. Month by month, September to June, the day to day challenges of trying to live a balanced life, while striving to remain a consummate professional, are intertwined with the issues besetting public education and the dramas and traumas, both large and small, of often misunderstood and underestimated early adolescents. Set in the affluent coastal community of Manhattan Beach, California, the plot ebbs and flows, revealing both the struggles and joys of a dedicated classroom teacher who is gradually coming to the realization that it may be time to retire.


Along the way, administrative styles are explored as are legal obligations impacting the classroom teacher, some as seemingly simple as taking attendance and others as complex as First Amendment rights and the administration of the No Child Left Behind legislation. Randi’s energy is tapped as she attempts to meet the divergent needs of individual students, consistently deliver meaningful instruction and maintain quality relationships with family members, as well as lend support to close colleagues – one struggling as a single parent and another with an abusive husband. The year is further complicated when Randi is inadvertently drawn into a criminal investigation by an earnest student who comes to her with a story of an odd citing, made while “Trick-or-Treating” at another student’s home. As May turns to June and the time for indecision passes amid the end-of-schoolyear hubbub, Randi sorts through the components of her life and considers her options in order to come to a final decision.

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About the author (2009)

Jean Anne Turner received a B.A. in English Literature and a llifetime standard K-8 teaching credential from CSCLA. Following 14 years as a middle grade elementary teacher in Los Angeles and Orange counties, she taught Humanities and Leadership to 7th and 8th graders until retiring, completing 36 consecutive years in the classroom. She received the Orange County Department of Education's Social Science Educator’s award  and was twice selected as the Irvine Unified School District’s Middle School Teacher of the Year. As a result of her  classroom experience and years of service in the Irvine Teacher’s Association as a site representative and an executive officer, she experienced many changes in public education. She witnessed firsthand the widespread lack of understanding of the issues that impact the morale and performance of classroom teachers and thus, their students and the overall quality of education. A Year on the Brink, spotlights some of these issues and although fiction, is in part, a composite of  the author's own experiences.

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