Book review by Peter Flom, PhD

I got to hear Peter Riffle speak at the New Jersey LDA meeting. I also bought his book The Cloud Chaser. If you are a teacher in special education, especially if you are relatively new in the field or need some inspiration, this could be a good book for you to read. Peter Riffle’s book doesn’t have any earthshaking revelations about education theory. It doesn’t have any statistics or reports comparing different teaching methods. Mostly what it has is Peter Riffle’s thoughts about being a special education teacher and his recollections about some of the children he has taught over the years. But, since Peter Riffle is a master teacher, his thoughts are worth reading. His motto is “Teach with your heart. Your subject matter will take care of itself,” and the book’s contents reflect that motto. There is little here on how to teach any particular subject. There is a great deal here on how to deal with particular children. Each of the recollections is quite short – one or just a few paragraphs. But, as a teacher, you may recognize one of your students in one of his recollections and you may think, “Hey! I could try that!”. It is clear that Peter Riffle has a great deal of intuition about children, particularly special needs children. He shares it in this book. In addition, you may catch (or recapture) some of what makes teaching these “special” kids so special and some of what makes teaching such a special career.

~ Peter Flom, PhD
October 13, 2013