I recently followed a Google ad link to a site offering the secrets to becoming 'an ace at teaching'. It claims to be the 'only teaching guide written by an actual teacher who has spent a lifetime of work "in the trenches" teaching every grade and every subject over the course of a lifetime'. At this point my suspicions were aroused, as I see nothing particularly unusual in a book being written by a practising teacher, and no need for the use of 'actual'. The writer gives three reasons to believe what she says, the first of which starts 'In case you don't already know me, my name is ...'. In over twenty years of teaching, I'd never heard of her, so I decided to have a little sniff around the internet.
First, I signed up for the four free emails that are meant to persuade people to buy her book. The first of these secrets is a way of dealing with a sudden disruptive student outburst. Her solution appears to be giving them a text to copy out, which, like giving lines, is an idea as old as the hills. The second, meant to deal with students procrastinating about handing in work was actually exactly the same as the first. The third, the solution to cheating, involved copying out a text again. The fourth, solving attitude problems, was another text. At this point I decided against continuing my research by buying her book.
A brief search on the internet showed that her expertise meant that she could dispense advice on Parent Conferences, where, just as in her teaching career, she had 'noticed a disturbing pattern' and worked out the secrets that kept 'fluff' to a minimum and cut to the chase. She offers a similar webpage on Teaching Evaluation secrets and puts her thirty years of teaching experience to good use, but bad mathematics, on her PE teacher secrets page, which draws on her forty years as a physical education teacher.
However, her expertise doesn't stop there; she's also an expert on dogs. She has also managed to put together an e-book on dachshunds which is 'not a book put together by a professional writer at a big publishing firm- it's written based on my research and experience with dachshunds'. One breed isn't enough- she's also managed to do the same on Boston Terriers.
Furthermore, her domestic life is another source of expert knowledge. As a happily married woman, she has managed to put together a guide to Wedding vows, one on weddings on a budget, and for later on, one on breast feeding and one on baby showers.
It's easy to make claims on the internet, but much harder to back them up. I have no idea whether this a real person churning out ebooks, or a name to personalise jobbing writers, but I would be interested to know how many copies of this she's shifted.