About the book
No Barking in the Hallways: Poems from the Classroom, offers readers a window into the stories of teachers and students as they struggle to be successful in our test-obsessed culture. "Frankly, there isn't anyone you couldn't learn to love once you've heard their story.” Those words of the beloved Fred Rogers, star of the long-running PBS children’s show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, serve as the catalyst for the narrative poems that detail the author’s experiences as a teacher. The reader will discover some of the emotional baggage that many adolescents carry, baggage that interferes with their ability to focus and to learn in school, and will find out what’s actually happening in today’s public school classrooms. Readers will encounter many people to cheer for and many “reforms” that deserve questioning when they meet the students and teachers of No Barking in the Hallways.
“Ann Bracken’s poems from the teacher’s viewpoint enlighten, and in speaking with the students’ diverse voices truly shine. These are perspectives that belong in the discourse on issues in education. Bracken reminds us that educational statistics and data points represent living, breathing, unique and precious human beings. This is a compelling collection from an advocate for those in the classroom.”
―Mindy Abbott, BSW, M.Ed., poet, author and former elementary school teacher
“In Bracken’s hands, poetry becomes a peculiarly effective way to convey the reality of the classroom. Individual poems are intensely focused on a single person, giving a voice to those whose voices are rarely heard. Together these poems create an unforgettable mosaic of the experience of teaching adolescents, whether they are learning disabled, emotionally disturbed, or stressed in other ways.”
—Barbara Morrison, poet, writer, teacher, and author of the poetry collections, Terrarium and Here at Least
“Ann Bracken has a special gift for seeing below the surface of both people and institutions. In her title poem, she confronts a behavioral method that tests compliance of staff and students with paper rewards cut into the shape of dog bones. In contrast, the poem ‘Marcus Speaks’ rewards readers with the success of a ‘wounded Puppy’ who finally discovers his human voice."
―Patricia Jakovich VanAmburg, Professor Emerita, Howard Community College