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Educating Esme Esme Raji Codell
Educating Esme: Esme Raji Codell

Educating Esme | Diary of a Teacher’s First Year | Book Review


I’m pleased to have the opportunity to review the book, Educating EsmeDiary 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.

Career Opportunities

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.

Win it!

Moomette’s Magnificents  is hosting a Giveaway Contest! For a chance to win, there will be one (1) winner of this book!

Please include a way of contacting you. Should you be the contest winner, this information may be shared with the contest sponsor in order to send your prize.

Main Rule:   (remember if this rule is not followed then no others will count)
a) Sign up for my free Newsletter Updates to my blog through my e-mail Feedblitz link (on the top of my right column or let me know if you already are, in a separate comment) AND

b) Leave a comment why you’d like to win this book!

This contest will run until September 26, 2009 at 11:00 pm.

For Additional Entries, check out my Contest Entry Rules.

About Cindi Moomettes

New England blogger and influencer from Connecticut and author of the multi-generational Moomettes Magnificents where she writes about Family, Grandparents and Grandchildren, home decor, Crochet, Knitting, DIY, crafts, family travel familiarization trips (FAMs), photography, social media and reviews. You can also find her at Moomettes Crochet Shop for the latest Handmade Fashion trends, Home Decor, Handmade Crochet Wash Cloths & Accessories. For food and recipes visit at her blog Frugal New England Kitchen ***Products and/or companies featured on Moomettes Magnificents may have provided product samples and/or compensation for consideration. All opinions are my own. Posts may contain affiliate links. See also Disclosure***


  1. I’m not entering the contest, but yes isn’t this a great book.
    .-= Louise´s last blog ..Win a vacation from Aunt Jemima Frozen Pancakes =-.

  2. Not a contest entry. Perfect review of a fun and informative book. It is true that the original and unique teachers are the ones we remember, but it’s because they love what they are doing.
    .-= ConnieFoggles´s last blog ..Teach Children To Manage Money =-.

  3. I subscribe — I would like to win this one because I am also a fairly new teacher and would love to read about someone else’s experiences.

  4. I have already signed up for your newsletter.

    You are already subscribing to “Moomette’s Magnificents”

  5. I’d like to win this book because I am curious this being Esme’s 1st year as a teacher in Chicago, how she deals with her students, why she loves teaching so much and interested on what tips she has for others who are already in the teaching profession or thinking about entering.

    Please enter me. Thanks.

  6. Random Integer Generator

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    Timestamp: 2009-09-27 14:01:06 UTC

  7. Hi Marlene – Congratulations for winning the Esme book! I hope you’ll visit again. Please send name/address for mailing.

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