Monday, May 26, 2014

Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire by Rafe Esquith (Not YA)

Okay, so I admit that this is not Young Adult Literature. In fact, it's not fiction.  This is one of my nonfiction selections for the summer.  Specifically, it's about teaching--surprise!

If you're a student of mine, or a teenager, you may want to skip this one, but feel free to read if you'd like.

If you're a fellow teacher, you may enjoy the review below.

Teach Like Your Hair's On Fire reads more like a memoir than it does a book on teaching.  Rafe Esquith details how he runs his classroom and what areas he focuses on (all of them it seems).  He discusses building character with his students, creating a film club, a problem solving club, book clubs, a theater troupe, and all sorts of different activities for his students.  I'm amazed by Mr. Esquith's dedication and also the dedication of his students, with his optional classroom hours before and after school each day, plus time on Saturdays, past students staying after to be involved in different activities, and the trips he takes with his traveling theater troupe. He truly has some amazing ideas and techniques, but I will be honest: most of it seems impossible to me, a new mother, who already feels the lack of time with my daughter eating away at me.   In fact, his extreme dedication has actually made me feel guilty for not also doing these things, and I know that I already do quite a lot.  So teacher friends, although I did enjoy some chapters quite a lot and found them helpful (chapter two details his central behavior plan using the six levels of moral development and is just fascinating to read), be prepared to feel inadequate after reading this--unless you too are able to devote hours before and after school, on the weekends, every day and have the most wonderfully behaved students ever--all of them, all of the time.  I, for one, have quite a lot of growing to do in order to become such a phenomenal educator.

Stay tuned for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  I am revisiting this book after quite a few years. 

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