Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Review of 'Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year' by Esme Raji Codell

"A must-read for parents, new teachers, and classroom veterans, Educating Esme is the exuberant diary of Esme Raji Codell's first year teaching in a Chicago public school.  Fresh-mouthed and free-spirited, the irrepressible Madame Esme-- as she prefers to be called-- does the cha-cha during multiplication tables, roller-skates down the hallways, and puts on rousing performances with at-risk students in the library.  Her diary opens a window into a real-life classroom from a teacher's perspective.  While battling bureaucrats, gang members, abusive parents, and her own insecurities, this gifted young woman reveals what it takes to be an exceptional teacher.

Heroine to thousands of parents and educators, Esme now shares more of her ingenious and yet down-to-earth approaches to the classroom in a supplementary guide to help new teachers hit the ground running.  As relevant and iconoclastic as when it was first published, Educating Esme is a classic, as is Madame Esme herself."

When I got my job teaching in East St. Paul, my 9th grade English teacher was so excited and brought all of her old things that she used to teach us (lots of Romeo and Juliet materials, but lots of other things too).  One of the things that she kindly gave me was this book.  On a weekend right before I was to receive my first ever set of students, I blazed through this book.

It was a really nice reminder why I wanted to be a teacher.  It was very affirming.  She came into her classroom and assumed the best of her students.  She believed in her students so fiercely that there was very little chance they wouldn't do well.  I truly believe that believing in students and supporting them until they have no choice but to succeed is an important piece to making sure that the people we're meant to be preparing for the future are ready to take on this challenge.  Especially because they've had success with other challenging things in their lives.

This book it partially responsible for pumping me up and making me remember why I wanted to be a teacher and more importantly, thinking about the kind of teacher I wanted to become.

I recommend this book for any new teacher, even if you're not teaching elementary school like Madame Esme is.  I will be interested in reading this again down the line after I have more experience under my belt.

I give 'Educating Esme':
Thanks for Reading!


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