Debut Novel Exposes the Drama Inside America’s Schools Manos’s “Last Year of Life (in School)” Dramatizes the Dysfunctional Status of Public Education
This debut novel is a semi-autobiographical story told in a diary/epistolary format about teacher Ethan Miller during his last year of teaching. Teachers, school administrators, and parents, especially those who have children attending public schools, will be enthralled by My Last Year of Life (in School) and gain an understanding of the dramatic and sometimes disturbing events that happen in a public high school, emerging much like a popular reality television program since it also involves the issues and tragedies that educators confronted all over the country during the 2012-2013 school year, including the Chicago teachers’ strike, the Atlanta cheating scandal, and the tragedy at Sandy Hook.
Praise for My Last Year of Life (in School):
“Surprising and honest, Keith Manos gives us a behind-the-scenes look at a teacher’s last year in a school he once loved.” – Sarah Willis (author of Some Things That Stay and A Good Distance)
“I could really relate to the characters and events in Keith’s novel. It was almost like he was describing my own school day. As I read, I found myself at times nodding my head, laughing out loud, or sighing with concern. I’m starting to wonder what my last year of teaching will be like.” [Sarah Kelly – Special Education teacher, Hyman G. Rickover Naval Academy, Chicago, Illinois]
“The truth is out. Ethan Miller (Manos’s alter ego in the classroom) exposes what a typical public school teacher deals with on a daily basis. I am a retired teacher with 30 years experience in the classroom and could identify with every page. Most people hear stories about the public school classroom and sympathize with teachers but to read it page after page makes the truth almost too real. This is a must read for any administrator, parent, and teacher. My Last Year of Life would be an interesting text in an education class to analyze Ethan Miller’s handling of the many conflicts and to discuss alternate actions or agree on what he decided to do in the heat of the moment. I laughed, I shook my head in frustration and understanding, and I cried at the end (almost).” [John Korhlrieser – retired math teacher, Fairfax County Schools, VA]
“I really enjoyed reading Keith’s novel, and I think it’s gutsy of him to portray a public school teacher’s daily life as it truly is. My Last Year of Life (in School) shows what’s sad, what’s funny, and what’s tragic about teaching today, and I wonder how many other schools across this country are like Ethan Miller’s Bayview High School.” [Andrea Manes – retired science teacher, Richmond Heights Secondary School, OH]
As a result of its introspective tone and unique exploration of a teacher’s plight in today’s teaching climate, anyone wishing to be a part of the national conversation regarding education in America will connect with Keith Manos’ book, My Last Year of Life (in School). This book positions its readers to observe the skill and grit needed to excel as a teacher. In addition, it leaves all parents, educators, and citizens with a burning question: Am I paying enough attention to the schools in my community? [J.D. Uebler – Culver Academies, Senior instructor and Humanities Department Chair]
College Credit Plus program prompts excitement, concerns
Keith Manos teaches English Composition 1 through the College Credit Plus program at Riverside High School in Painesville Township on Nov. 2. Tawana Roberts — The News-Herald
|By Tawana Roberts, The News-Herald
POSTED: 11/06/17, 7:57 PM EST
While there are many benefits to students receiving college credit prior to graduating from high school, there are some concerns.
According to the Ohio Department of Higher Education, the College Credit Plus program is open to any Ohio student in seventh through 12th grade, which means a 12-year-old could take courses at any Ohio public or participating college.
“That’s when it gets challenging,” said Riverside Guidance Director Scott Bailis. “What we have found here is even when our ninth-, 10th-, 11th- and 12th- graders taking English composition, who have different backgrounds in writing, all of a sudden come together, the ninth- and 10th-graders who did not have as much writing experience struggled more. The instructor could not just stop and say, ‘I have to bring these students up to speed’, they have to just keep going.”
Keith Manos, who teaches CCP English Composition 1 at Riverside, said he treats every student the same.“I treat them like college students, because they are college students,” said Manos, who is also an adjunct professor in English at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland.
Despite questions about a student’s ability to complete advanced work, high schools are not allowed to place any restrictions on student participation in College Credit Plus. The ODHE said each institution of higher education sets its own standards for measuring students’ college-readiness.
However, Bailis said he tries to provide students and parents with as much information as he can to help them make an informed decision. “When we have a College Credit Plus meeting and introduce the program, I talk to them about the social and maturity side of things,” he said. “Most ninth-graders don’t have the writing background and most are just not emotionally ready for the rigors of college-level English class. We stress at our meeting — don’t just be in a hurry to accumulate college credits. I know they’re free and it’s a great program, but it is a maturity component of it.”
CCP students are expected to be accountable, so being mature is essential.
Manos and Bailis emphasized that because of the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act, CCP students’ grades and progress are not shared with parents or guidance counselors.
Bailis said this is a challenge for the guidance department, because counselors do not know if a student is on-track to graduation until after they receive the final grades.“It’s hard to tell a student that they will not graduate because they did not pass a CCP course that they needed to meet graduation requirements,” he said.
Meanwhile as more students are signing up for CCP, there may be fewer students in advanced placement classes.“It definitely hurts the AP program,” Bailis said. “There are a lot of advantages to the AP program. Colleges really like it because of the consistency and I see a lot of our top students sticking to AP.”
While the future of CCP and AP are unclear, both programs support college readiness. Overall, parents, students and educators find them advantageous.
Every wrestling season I join Guy Trinetti, Sr. on WINT Radio 1330 AM to provide commentary on the wrestling season and individual competitions. The picture below shows Guy and me at the Kenston Invitational Tournament.
Here are Guy Trinetti and me at the St. Ignatius v. Lake Catholic match at Lake Catholic, February, 2019.