For nearly twenty years, Jo Scott-Coe has worked as a writer, teacher, and scholar at institutions throughout Southern California. Her writing on intersections of education, gender, and violence has appeared in many publications, including The Los Angeles Times, Swink, Fourth Genre, River Teeth, Ninth Letter, Memoir(and), So to Speak, Babel Fruit, Ruminate, Green Mountains Review, and Hotel Amerika. Her interview with essayist Richard Rodriguez appeared in Narrative Magazine. In 2009, her work received a Pushcart Special Mention in nonfiction as well as a Notable listing in Best American Essays.
After ending her 11-year tenure as a high school English teacher, Scott-Coe earned an MFA at the University of California Riverside (UCR), where she studied as a graduate Fellow and was recognized as Outstanding Teaching Assistant of the Year in 2005. Scott-Coe currently works as an Assistant Professor of English composition, literature, and creative writing at Riverside Community College in Southern California. She lives with her husband in the Inland Empire of Southern California, where she also sits on the advisory board for the Inlandia Institute, a new organization dedicated to promoting regional literary arts.
You can learn more about Jo and her work and check out audio and video of her latest interviews at her website.
PRAISE FOR TEACHER AT POINT BLANK
Jo Scott Coe's very fine memoir of her teaching life is unlike anything I have read before. Her lean prose is unyielding to sentimentality and aspires always toward honesty about our lives as adults and as children. One is, here, in the presence of a writer who convinces us that teaching young lives is a constant and, sometimes, terrible journey of adult self-discovery.
—Richard Rodriguez, author of Brown: The Last Discovery of America
This unique and daring book lifts the cheerful, can-do mask that hides the reality of what it means to be a teacher. In luminous prose, Jo Scott-Coe debunks the sentimentalized mystique, exposing the harsh reality of extreme expectations,
isolation, and psychic disconnect that engulfs teachers' lives. Scott-Coe's truth is at once disturbing and emancipating.
—Susan Ohanian, author of Why Is Corporate America Bashing Our Public Schools?
Jo Scott-Coe writes with humor, insight, and a deep love for her subject. In many ways, she has become a voice for her generation and for teachers, too. Remarkable.
—Chris Abani, author of GraceLand and The Virgin of Flames
Teacher at Point Blank answers this question at a time when concerns about school performance, safety, and teacher attrition are at an all-time and often anxious high. Meditating on subtle and overt forms of violence in secondary public education from an up-close and “pink collar” point of view, Jo Scott-Coe examines her own workplace as a microcosm of the national compulsory K-12 system, where teachers—now nearly 80% women—find themselves idealized and disparaged, expected to embody the dedication of parents, the coldness of data managers, and the obedience of Stepford spouses. Haunted and compelled forward by memories of a classmate who commits suicide on campus, a former teacher-colleague who dies all alone, Hollywood fantasies of the “ideal teacher,” and chronic reports of school violence and increasing gender crime, Scott-Coe reveals how her hopes, past and present, struggle for breath at the point blank of denial, confinement, addiction, isolation, hostility, subliminal eroticism—and, at times, a healthy dose of fear.