I’m pleased to have the opportunity to review the book, Educating Esme – Diary of a Teacher’s First Year, by Esme Raji Codell.
Diary of a Teacher’s First Year
My youngest daughter recently graduated college with a degree in Psychology and Sociology. She’s in grad school now for a Masters in Social Work.
Over the course of her college career, we were hoping that she’d decide to become a teacher. She’s terrific with children, and every summer break she would be a Nanny to kids she’s been babysitting since they were infants. They’re 10 and 11 now.
In the meantime, she’s signed up in several towns and has become a substitute teacher. Her favorite age group is grades 1-3. See, she should have listened to her mama.
The book chronicles the learning curve of Esme as a first-year teacher in Chicago public schools. The children call her Mesdame Esme.
Esme is an unconventional spirit, definitely marching to the tune of a different drummer, and utilizes such innovative teaching techniques as doing the Cha-Cha on the desks.
Actually, my oldest daughter had a 5-th grade teacher who really danced on the tables to reward the kids, and they loved it! She still talks about that teacher to this day!
This award-winning book speaks to advice tips for beginning teachers and how each teacher eventually develops their own teaching style.
When dealing with Administrators, Esme says:
“That’s what happens when you ask people who are giving a hundred and one percent of themselves to give one hundred and two,”
Some Q & A from the author:
Q- “Educating Esmé”, your diary of your first year of teaching in a Chicago public school, has been called the “gold standard” for the “foxhole memoir” by the New York Times and has sold over 200,000 copies. With this recent reissue of the book, what’s new?
Esme- The diary itself is exactly the same, but there’s a new foreword by Katherine Paterson, author of “Bridge to Teribithia”, and a meaty guide that’s been added called “Hit the Ground Running,” which I created to help new teachers do just that. The most common question I’m asked is, “Do you have any advice for new teachers?” Now readers will find over twenty-five really specific and hopefully pragmatic pieces of advice and also a comprehensive shopping list for the first-year teacher.
Be forwarned that since the book chronicles the experiences of a very real person, that there is some crude language that some might consider offensive. As a Baby Boomer, I personally don’t offend easily, and found that the language was necessary as the book was written from real-life experiences, and necessary to depict real life, in a USA city public school. Those experiences aren’t all sugar and spice, and neither is the book sugar-coated.
I recommend it as a good read for those who teach or are interested in going into teaching.
Available at online and local retailers.
#Esme Raji Codell
# Paperback: 256 pages
# Publisher: Algonquin Books; Expanded edition (September 1, 2009)
# Language: English
# ISBN-10: 1565129350
# ISBN-13: 978-1565129351
© Moomettes Magnificents
Benefited Reviewer. Opinions are my own.
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