Teacher Makes New Partner a Star

Teacher Makes New Partner a Star

Teacher Makes New Partner a Star

Book Review:

Teacher Makes New Partner a Star

By Gale O’Callaghan

In many ways, my former colleague has returned home – at least on the screen. His passion for learning has been irresistible. As teachers, we often forget what it’s like to be a student – to feel what it’s like to miss so much of your educational experiences.

In O’Callaghan’s lovely collection of essays, Mr. Jay McCoy states it bluntly: “Studying for a work permit is a death sentence… if you want a better life… and you love learning and love getting better grades. If you can’t stop studying, get one of those [work permits].” (2)

While his life is far from perfect, he does get one of those work permits, and Mr. Jay becomes a star lecturer on molecular genetics. Mr. Jay gets a hold of his friend, Cheeky McSharky, and the three set off to Canada. Cheeky McSharky takes jobs as a pizza driver and computer technician and carpenter.

After they’ve been building houses together, Mr. Jay and Cheeky McSharky get married. Their friends insist that their lives would be better if Cheeky McSharky had a real job, and so he joins his boss’s plumbing crew. Little by little, it dawns on him how much he misses Mr. Jay.

Meanwhile, Mr. Jay has been helping his friend build a work permit. But he also has a hunch that Cheeky McSharky might be interested in his drug-dealing cousin. Young Cheeky McSharky happens to be fascinated by the science and math of DNA, and when Mr. Jay shows him how to do his side of a DNA test, they form a special relationship. It leads to discovery and wonderment, and Cheeky McSharky gets an education in science.

What a wonderful group of two friends building things with their hands. The result is the most beautiful novel I’ve read in years. Writer Mark Haddon (who won a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time) expertly captured the steps of the story. Mr. Jay McCoy takes his imagination even further. He brings home to us science without telling us what to understand. Of course, what else is science for but to teach us that what we are doing is valuable?

How are we to explain this trip to Canada? Each time I teach the novel, I make one crucial note to my student: Make a vow that you will never come back here without reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

About the Author:

Gale O’Callaghan is a teacher at Anthony Wayne High School in Toledo, Ohio. She is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. In 1987, she was selected as a Presidential Teacher-Teachers Scholar, helping her to obtain a master’s degree in literacy and another in science.

Ms. O’Callaghan has been featured by Businessweek magazine as “the fastest-rising minority teaching superstar” and by the Toledo Blade as one of “America’s Most Influential Women of the 21st Century.” For her contributions to education in Ohio, she has been a recipient of the Staff Honour Award, the Distinguished Woman in Education award, the Franciscan Award, and the YWCU Teacher of the Year award.

Gale O’Callaghan is a proud mother of two, a 14-year-old daughter, and a son, 12, and attends church regularly.

1. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

2. Perennial Reader

Related links:

Other book reviews:

L. Paulette Thomas. Teaching in America: The Challenges and Wishes of Its Teachers, 1988-2009.

David Sullivan. American Stories of Science and Technology.

Gail O’Callaghan. Cactus Physics.

© 2016 GRADEMME Publishing LLC. All rights reserved.

Gale O’Callaghan is a long-time US teacher, book review author, school teacher and a former US Ambassador for Fun and Education with Travel for Volunteer and Diplomatic Missions. Gail O’Callaghan is a long-time US teacher, book review author, school teacher and a former US Ambassador for Fun and Education with Travel for Volunteer and Diplomatic Missions.

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