Friday, May 28, 2010
When I found the book, it was in the "Teacher Help" section of Barnes and Noble--an automatic strike. It was sitting next to educational atrocities like Harry Wong's First Days of School (and yes, that is his real name). Needless to say, I felt obligated to continue with my personal sense of dedication, but I was no longer excited about the work.
But the book is an educational gem. It truly is. Esme has the heart of a real teacher--one who feels success and failure in the same hour. She is curt but smart, funny but firm and consistently entertaining. The book honestly reads like a series of stories--some humorous and some that would enrage the most docile of educators.
I found the book inspiring but realistic. She doesn't paint a rosy picture that leaves educators feeling as though they can never live up to the hype (see Freedom Writers, Dangerous Minds, etc.). She shares honestly and openly about her experiences with her students. Some of her ideas are amazing, out-of-the-box and completely inspire the children to learn. Yet she finds herself frustrated with situations that cannot be solved in the classroom, and a school Principal (and Vice Principal!) who was obviously not hired for his interpersonal communication skills.
The book is worth a purchase based solely on the story about the fifth graders who stabbed a substitute in the rear end. Their reason was completely founded based on classroom rules--albeit, they needed a bit of clarification ;)
When I put the book down, I didn't feel like I couldn't measure up as an educator. I honestly felt like I was doing everything I could do to make my students as successful as possible...and, at the end of the day, that's all anyone can ask for.