The housing market is crashing, and Sophie’s life is crashing with it. At twenty-four, her successful real estate career evaporates. She’s broke, can’t find a job, or pay her bills, leaving Sophie wondering how her successful lifestyle became so fragile.
At the urging of her roommate, Sophie accepts a job in her fallback career—teaching six-year-olds. She hopes it’s temporary. After all, how long can a tanking economy last anyway? The best part of the new job is Liam, another employee at Rio Grande Elementary. The worst part of the new job is, well, teaching.
Sophie has a surprise real estate closing from a contract she wrote months ago, leading her to a niche in the real estate market and to a new partner, Kevin. Sophie must choose between Liam or Kevin and between a lucrative career or recess duty.
When I finish, Mrs. Hays summarizes, “So you’ve only had experience in third grade?”
I nod my head, and she scribbles in the notebook again. She seems less than impressed.
“We’d like to get an idea of the type of decisions you would make as a teacher. What would you do for a student who is having difficulty learning to read?” Mr. Chavez asks.
Oh, my gosh, I’m interviewing for first grade! What am I thinking? The students all have to learn to read this year. If they don’t, it will be my fault—no college, low-paying jobs, generational poverty with dirty children and grandchildren.
Focus. Stay calm. Just finish the interview. Then run! “I think the first thing might be to listen to the child read and try to get an idea of what is easy or hard for him or her. Then I can make better choices for them in future lessons.”
Mr. Chavez smiles at Mrs. Hays, and she asks in a nasal tone, “Phonemic awareness, metacognition, zone of proximal development—sound familiar?” Her eyes lock on mine as a grimace grows, pulling her lips thinner.
Nope, none and not at all—she’s speaking teacher and I’m not fluent. “No,” I say with a contented smile to hide how rattled I feel. “I realize there’s a lot for me to learn.” You cow. “I’m willing to work hard for these kids and learn from experienced teachers.” Yes, I’m schmoozing you, Mrs. Hays, and you know I’m not serious. I intend to stay as far from you as I can.
Mr. Chavez turns to Mrs. Hays and asks her if she has any more questions.
“Help us get a clearer vision of your discipline ideas, Miss Kanakaredes,” she says to my earrings. “With which theoretical perspective on discipline do you agree?”
“Is there one based on mutual respect, genuine concern and teaching students what is expected? Children want to succeed and be accepted—my discipline plan will include those values.” P.S. Mrs. Hays, we all want that.
Praise for Newbie
Loved this story. I thought it was crisp and funny. Sophie has a great character arch as she goes from the Real Estate world to a classroom of 1st graders. Love Liam. He is a nice breath of fresh air. He and Sophie’s interactions kept me laughing and wanting more. I HIGHLY recommend this novel! ~ Author Sherry Gammon
In recent years I’ve become addicted to Sophie Kinsella’s books. This book reminded me of hers, only cleaner, which I appreciated! It was sweet and witty. Definitely had me laughing out loud. Loved the ending 🙂 ~Goodreads Review
I loved this book! I especially have a tender spot for books with children in them and this story about Sophie being “forced” to teach when the real estate market does so poorly captured my heart. The characters were warm and lovable, the story was fun and I enjoyed every minute of the book. ~Phyllis
I loved NEWBIE. Sophie’s inner thoughts are a delight. She just makes me smile. Her journey as a newbie teacher is real and touching. ~Donna Weaver
Jo Noelle grew up in Colorado and Utah but also spent time in Idaho and California. She has two adult children and three small kids. She teaches teachers and students about reading and writing, grows freakishly large tomatoes, enjoys cooking especially for desserts, builds furniture, sews beautiful dresses, and likes to go hiking in the nearby mountains. Oh, and by the way, she’s two people—Canda Mortensen and Deanna Henderson, a mother/daughter writing team.
They began writing separately several years ago but found the process much more fun when they started collaborating. They are debut authors, with Lexi’s Pathetic Fictional Love Life as their first completed work. Other titles include Newbie and Damnation.
Deanna attended college before marrying and starting her family.
Canda received a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, a Reading Specialist endorsement, and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership. Her day job focuses on teaching teachers and children about literacy.
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