My Last Year of Life (in School) could be the sentimental Goodbye, Mr. Chips or the realistic Up the Down Staircase, but it isn’t. Instead, the semi-fictional My Last Year of Life (in School) is based on actual events and reveals an insider’s close-up and often disturbing look at what outsiders might think is a typical suburban high school. This epistolary novel, told in a diary format, also exposes both the personal and national issues that confront American educators today. As Ethan Miller copes with school board members, students, parents, colleagues, and administrators in his own school district, he also struggles with the issues and tragedies faced by educators across the country based on news reports and website blogs from the 2012-2013 school year during his 35th and last year as an English teacher. My Last Year of Life (in School) is a poignant and enlightening story about a teacher confronting the challenges of his last year in the classroom.
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)
During his last year as an English teacher in a suburban high school, Ethan Miller faces much more than just wayward teens. There are the parents, the school board, and contemporary issues he never could have imagined when he began his career 35 years before. Author Keith Manos’s true-life novel takes us through the day-to- day events in the classroom–the teen brawls, the school board trials, and the disturbing issues facing educators today. In the end, Manos has a lot to teach us all about the human condition.
~Deanna Adams (author of Confessions of a Not-So-Good Catholic Girl, Rock ‘n’ Roll and the Cleveland Connection, and the novel, Peggy Sue Got Pregnant.
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 Lifewould 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 Program Chair]
Keith Manos is a retired English teacher who in 2000 was named Ohio’s English Teacher of the Year by OCTELA and inducted into the National Honor Roll of Outstanding American Teachers in 2006. He is the author of 9 nonfiction books, including Writing Smarter. His articles and fiction have appeared in national magazines like Wesleyan Advocate, School Library Journal, Teacher Magazine, Lutheran Journal, Visions, Wrestling USA, and Ohio Teachers Write. He won the Greer-Hepburn Award for Fiction at Miami University.