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Russell J Fee

"This is a must have for every teacher library! A funny yet poignant glimpse into the crazy, happy, sad, wonderful world of teaching... I laughed out loud."

~ Lori Kleinhanzl, Grade School Teacher


Mr. Fee's book is a delightful collection of hilarious "teacher" experiences. He captures the classroom atmosphere with a wise and entertaining sense of humor.

~ Colleen Seal, Educator


Russ Fee knows what it’s like to face down a pack of fifth graders. His observations from the wilds of the classroom give us a clear-eyed look at the world of childhood - not the sentimental and sanitized version our memories serve up, but the real world of hard questions, keen observations, and exploding energy. No one is better able to capture the smells, the sounds, the sights, and telling moments that make up a teacher’s day.

A man who arrived in the classroom after a long career in the courtroom, Russ Fee invites us along on his journey from substitute to seasoned teacher, sharing his experiences in poems that capture both the exuberance of childhood and the joyful privilege of being attendant at their growth.

“Kids who don’t get into trouble aren’t normal,” a wise third grader is overheard saying in one of his poems from the classroom included in “A Dash of Expectation.” Whether you’re a parent, teacher or a former child, these poems will make you laugh and cry over honest moments like these.

~ Pamela Todd, Author


"If you’re dreaming of going back to school to get your teacher’s certification, you’d be well advised to read Russ Fee’s book for confirmation that you’re absolutely doing the right thing. After all, read between the lines and the lines themselves and you’ll see how going to the head of the class is the realization of the storyteller’s dream.

In A Dash of Expectation, Fee has packaged a keen set of observations into a great read. He gives readers a practical, moving, and seriously funny glimpse into what it’s like to go back into the classroom as a substitute teacher. Never mind pastoral images of the sweet and obedient: the students in his poems are real. That’s what makes them—and Fee’s poetry—so transcendent. Instead of languishing above a clean desk, hands clasped and crayons stored neatly in cigar boxes, they are appropriately unruly and chaotic, competitive and needy, and self-absorbed as only grade-schoolers are allowed to be. Somehow, someway, Fee has managed to not only pinpoint, but play up the most powerful and universal details of being a school kid—the kind that successfully transports us back to our own experience. Don’t miss it!"

~ Jill Sherer Murray, author of “Diary of a Writer in Mid-Life Crisis”


Russell J. Fee’s A Dash of Expectation: Poems of the Classroom is an entertaining collection of poems written about his experiences in the classroom. With topics ranging from suspension to free time to students’ first interaction with a sub, the empathetic poems deal with the situations with which every teacher has become familiar. This book is great for everyone as it wonderfully depicts snippets from a teacher’s life.

 ~ David Woolf,


The obvious thing to say about Russell J. Fee’s excellent collection of poems,  A Dash of Expectation, is that it is most entertaining for those of us who have spent some of our time functioning as teachers, because this collection is a teacher’s many observations of the joys and frustrations of plying his trade. On the other hand, while only some of us were teachers, all of us were students, so there is a universal appeal. One really pleasant aspect of this collection is, even when he is writing about “bad” children, he does not portray them as monsters, but, rather, as children whose process of maturation may be lagging a bit behind the others. An excellent example of that would be his very clever piece, “Third-Grade Sage.”

Others of his poems, most of them, in fact, are not about the frustrations of misbehavior, but the joy of imparting knowledge, which is the thing that makes the whole enterprise worthwhile. A few of the poems are poignant, such as “Poem” and “Talk Out,” while others, among them, “Luis” and “The Librarian,” cannot help but bring a smile to your face. In fact, they may even render you one of those very few people who actually laugh, not quietly, but out loud (as in LOL).

This may be a bit longer than a typical chapbook, but it is not particularly long. Perhaps the best thing to say about it is that you may end up wishing it were.

~ Thomas Cleveland Lane, Author & Poet



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