Book Review: Take Off Your Hat & Spit Out Your Gum – A Teacher’s Memoir


Take Off Your Hat & Spit Out Your Gum—A Teacher’s Memoir
By Melinda Ehrlich
We all know what it’s like to sit in one of those neatly lined up desks in a classroom, but rarely do we ever get an inside peek at what it’s like up there at the chalkboard. And while you may consider yourself just another kid in a pool of thousands in the eyes of your teacher, think again.

In Take Off Your Hat & Spit Out Your Gum, Melinda Ehrlich will prove you wrong as she shares highlights from an arsenal of stories compiled over her 30-year career teaching in the NYC school system. She even takes you back to her own school days—like when she misspelled “jewelry” in the spelling bee and had run-ins with a less-than-warm teacher.

The Southampton College alum then puts you behind the scenes of a high school teacher, introducing you to some interesting and maybe even familiar characters: girls who couldn’t open their notebooks because they had wet nails and a boy who tried to explain away forging his mom’s signature.


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The chapter titles themselves are enough to get you to keep reading: “Sitting Shiva for Joey Ramone & Other Great Excuses” is our favorite.

Ehrlich also shares her experience working with troubled kids. So before you flip through these pages, be prepared to have your heart touched—and to smile till it hurts.

Ehrlich will appear at the Book Revue in Huntington Friday, 9.21.

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