Nontraditional by Nan Kuhlman

I received a free copy of the book from the publisher, Annorlunda Enterprises, a small publisher that focuses on entertaining stories that make you think. I am providing my unbiased opinion on the book.

Subtitle: Life Lessons from a Community College

Published: 2020 – in fact, it comes out today!

Genre: nonfiction memoir

Length: 214 pages

Setting: mostly a small community college in rural Ohio, but also a bit in California

Summary: Short version: Kuhlman intersperses stories of her students with how she became a teacher

Long version: Kuhlman teaches writing at a small community college in Ohio. Her students are a mix of traditional, fresh out of high school students, and nontraditional, returning/beginning adult students. They all have a story to tell. If Kuhlman pays attention, she can learn something from them. Kuhlman tries to meet the students where they are with no judgement, whether they turn out to be hard workers or slackers. She tell stories mainly about the nontraditional, adult students. She intersperses stories from her classes with her life history leading up to becoming an adjunct writing professor. She had a degree in journalism, but worked in insurance and homeschooled two kids. Her route to teaching was as nontraditional as her students.

Final thoughts: An interesting collection of stories. It was a series of vignettes interspersed with Kuhlman’s personal story leading up to becoming an adjunct professor. Her story provided a framework on which to lay interesting stories of her students. Kuhlman provided quite a bit of variety in her stories, both in terms of the types of students she discussed and the point of the story. She didn’t just provide stories with happy endings, either. Instead, we got a mix of students who were able to succeed and students who didn’t. Regardless of the end result, the stories were interesting. While Kuhlman said she tried to anonymize the students for privacy sake, don’t worry that she made them bland and interchangeable. Each student had enough detail on their actions in (and often out of) class and their background so I could picture them in my head as I read. As an adjunct myself, I could put myself in Kuhlman’s place numerous time, although I don’t think I’d have the patience to read so many beginning essays.

Title comes from: Kulhman was a nontraditional teacher (she didn’t even have a Master’s degree) teaching many nontraditional students

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #25 for 2020 and an N in my Title Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!

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