Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

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Overview

"A pop culture phenomenon" (Publishers Weekly)

"Screaming funny" (Booklist)

"Funny, poignant, and even sad. You'll find yourself laughing at places, ready to cry at others." (The Arizona Republic)

"It should be read by anyone who's interested in the future of public education." (Boston Phoenix Literary Section)

"Esme is a teacher I'd hire ...

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Overview

"A pop culture phenomenon" (Publishers Weekly)

"Screaming funny" (Booklist)

"Funny, poignant, and even sad. You'll find yourself laughing at places, ready to cry at others." (The Arizona Republic)

"It should be read by anyone who's interested in the future of public education." (Boston Phoenix Literary Section)

"Esme is a teacher I'd hire tomorrow. There is nothing the profession needs more than such creative intelligent, combative, and loving teachers." ( Herbert Kohl, author of 36 Children)

Esme Raji Codell has come to teach. Fresh-mouthed and miniskirted, this irrepressible spirit does the cha-cha during multiplication lessons, roller-skates down the hallways, and puts on rousing performances with at-risk students in the library. In Educating Esme, the diary of her first year teaching in a Chicago public school, she opens a window into a real-life classroom. While battling bureaucrats, gang members, abusive parents, and her own insecurities, this gifted teacher changes her student's lives forever.

Winner, Memoir of the Year, ForeWord magazine

Winner, Alex Award for Outstanding Book for Young Adult Readers

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Educating é is the autobiographical diary of a gutsy fifth-grade teacher, Esmé Raji Codell, who is so full of a lust for teaching and a love of children that no crumbling public school system or stagnant bureaucracy can get in her way. Her inner-city Chicago students face intimidating odds -- poverty, violence, gangs, miseducation, and a long line of adults who don't believe "these children" can ever amount to anything. Madame Esmé, however, is undaunted. Her diary reveals a woman with boundless zeal determined to be herself and to educate her children with every last drop of energy in her body. From a Zydeco Christmas pageant and a Multiplication Cha Cha to a Fairy Tale Festival complete with Frog Prince cupcakes and an Emperor's New Clothes Fashion Show, Madame Esmé creates an endless stream of whimsical (and educational) projects for her students to enjoy.

While one may not agree with her every teaching decision, it's impossible not to get a kick out of her verve and sassy attitude in the face of trouble. When her incompetent principal persists in calling her late at night, Madame Esmé handles the situation by returning his call at three o'clock in the morning, saying, "Oooh, did I wake you up? I'm so sorry. It's just that you called me so late. I knew you wouldn't call me so late if it wasn't terribly important" -- and has no further trouble with late calls. When another incompetent administrator moves a poster in Esmé's classroom, she responds in kind by marching into the woman's office and rearranging a plant. This woman, too, leaves her alone.

But Madamee Esmé is not just flip. When one of her boys and his mother need a place to stay because of a domestic violence problem, Esmé opens her own home to them. Another day, a student brings her two-year-old sister to school, so Esmé carries the child in her arms all day as she teaches, saying "What else could anyone do?" When a student is ashamed of the saris her mother wears, Madame Esmé dons one herself, and soon the girl and all her friends are wearing beautiful, silky saris to school. Yet no one ever seems to acknowledge her work, let alone thank her, and she is not even granted the graciousness of being left alone in her choice of names -- the principal persists in insisting she be called "Ms." Esmé. Despite the lack of support she receives, Madame Esmé devotes her entire life to her students, to the point where she has no time off and even her relationship with her boyfriend suffers.

Anyone who has been underappreciated or downright encumbered by a boss or bureaucracy will empathize with the story of Madame Esmé and be inspired by her ability to stick up for herself and her students with confidence. At the beginning of the school year, when some teachers tell her that her room is overstimulating, Madame Esmé responds to herself, "They are totally jealous because I have the most insanely beautiful classroom ever, of all time.... I feel sorry for any kid who's not in this room." She will not be put off, and she will not be toned down.

Teaching is hard work. In the public school system, teachers are cruelly overburdened. Dedication is overlooked. Innovation is scorned. Teachers like Esmé who take on the job with enthusiasm and love are precious to our society and our children. They deserve to be celebrated. In telling her own story, Esmé is honoring all teachers like her.

—Kate Montgomery

Rosenblum
It's refreshing and inspiring to listen to this, the diary of Codell's first year as an ele6rhood. The 24 year old Codell is the teacher we all want for our children. She creative, intelligent, enthusiastic, and warm, with a ready sense of humor and a firm sense of discipline. Her bright, cheery, and productive classroom is the envy of all. Codell's voice is lively, youthful, and impish, and you almost see the twinkle in her eye as she relates her anecdotes.
Billboard
Entertainment Weekly
Codell prettifies nothing...the imagination and irreverent wit...make this bristling journal well worth reading.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Portions of Codell's diary of her experiences as a first-year teacher in a Chicago inner-city elementary school were first aired on WBEZ radio, in that city, as part of its Life Stories series. Subsequently rounded out into a book, the material still comes across like it's meant to be read aloud. Codell's voice carries the enthusiasm that--as a 24-year-old hardcore idealist--she brought to her difficult job. Hired for a brand-new school, she tells how she let her "na vet " work to her own advantage. She invented ways to engage her troubled, sometimes hostile students, relying on jerry-rigged visual aids, group craft projects, role-reversing skits and the like. Villains appear as well, such as her evil principal, Mr. Turner, a "homophobic, backward idiot." Codell throws herself into the reading, imitating her kids' voices, sounding truly exasperated at each obstacle she faces. Based on the 1999 Algonquin hardcover. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature - Gisela Jernigan
Esme, a young, award-winning 5th grade teacher, in an inner-city, Chicago school, is described by Jim Trelease in the Afterword as being, "young, rash, exuberant, alternately innocent and street-wise, always child-wise, and sometimes irrational. But she is never irrelevant." Since this is the uncensored diary of Esme's first year of teaching, we experience unreasonable administrators, overburdened parents and unforgettable students, all brought to life by her vivid, often frank language. Although, not promoted as a how-to book for beginning teachers, it is truly inspirational to witness Esme's caring, challenging relationships with her students, and her enthusiastic, creative use of children's literature in all aspects of her teaching. Descriptions of how her room is decorated and her many imaginative activities, such as, a visiting author event and a homemade Time Machine to link history with children's literature, are especially fascinating. Throughout a year of frustrations and dangers, despair and triumphs, Esme's love for her students and for teaching always shines through.
Children's Literature - Jan Lieberman
Don't miss Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year. You will love this flamboyant, brilliant, caring, sometimes annoying but determined young woman whose ideas will knock your socks off. Her combative attitude towards her principal causes him despair. Her students come first, but don't call her Miss, Mrs. or Ms. At school, she is Madame Esme! Her fifth grade students live in inner-city Chicago facing the daily challenges of drugs, violence, abusive parents and poverty. Esme brightens their lives with the resolve that they are capable and can succeed if they're willing to work hard and follow basic rules. The time machine she makes from a refrigerator box for "travel through books" is a humdinger. Inside are books, a flashlight, a comfy pillow and one child. Anything is possible if you believe!
School Library Journal
YA-With the freshness, brashness, and know-it-all zeal of a first-time teacher, Madame Esm , as she asked her students to call her, jumped in with both feet for a remarkable year with her fifth-grade class. Her journal is at times bubbling with enthusiasm or bristling with anger. Codell is by turns tough and gentle. She witnessed two of her students being beaten by their parents after she discussed their classroom behavior. She feared that one student might shoot her. These youngsters' lives were incredibly grim, yet they read and wrote, sometimes advancing as much as two grade levels. Their teacher's success did not go unnoticed: she won the Dr. Peggy Williams Award, given by the Chicago Area Reading Association for outstanding teacher in the field of language arts. Readers are privy to the author's outbursts of anger toward the children and her moments of pride, but the intimacy of a diarist's self-examination/self-revelation is absent and the writing has a self-conscious tone. Madame Esm sometimes seems a little too cold-blooded or a little too keen on her own brilliance, but then there are moments when her generosity and love and empathy toward her students shine and make up for the arrogance. In the end, readers find a teacher who cares.-Theo Heras, Toronto Public Library Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Entertainment Weekly
Codell prettifies nothing...the imagination and irreverent wit...make this bristling journal well worth reading.
Kirkus Reviews
A spirited account of a gifted teacher's first year in an inner-city fifth-grade classroom.

Codell seems to be that exceptional teacher who tirelessly devises new ways of engaging with her 31 students-she's determined to educate them and enrich their lives. At 24, Codell shows the bravado of youth, along with the savoir-faire of a far more experienced teacher. Hired after a perfunctory interview with a sexist, parochial, ineffectual principal of a Chicago elementary school, she has to throw too much of her energy into defending her modus operandi, which should evoke praise, not criticism. Particularly perturbing to her principal is her insistence that her students address her as Ms. Esmé. "It's against board policy," he constantly reminds her, with threats to cite her for insubordination. Able to ignore most of the bureaucratic pettiness that permeates the daily doings, Esmé organizes a schoolwide Fairy Tale Festival (replete with a Fairy Tale Fashion Show, carnival games, and bake sale); sets up a classroom library with sets of books that she herself purchases; publishes a lively class newsletter; and gains the respect of just about all the students and their parents. There seem to be no boundaries to Codell's innovative measures. To teach her students how to multiply double digits, she puts on "Mu-Cha-Cha" from Bells Are Ringing and dances along with her class, making her feet do the math. When a particularly obstreperous child makes her days exceedingly difficult, she changes places with him, inviting him to play the teacher and herself to play the confrontational student. (He never again presents a problem.) When a student is endangered by domestic violence, MadameEsmé opens her home to him and his sister for the night, without, of course, notifying the administration.

Educating Esmé is that exceptional education book about an even more exceptional teacher. It deserves to be read by anyone who cares about children.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565129351
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publication date: 9/1/2009
  • Edition description: Expanded
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 94,491
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

A nationally renowned advocate for literacy and literature-based instruction, Esmé Raji Codell is today "one of the nation's most sought-after voices for empowering teachers" (People) and a "Superstar of Education" (Scolastic Instructor). Esmé has been interviewed on CBS This Morning, CNN, C-SPAN’s Book Talk, and NPR. The author of How to Get Your Child to Love Reading as well as award-winning books for children, Esmé lives with her husband and son in Chicago, where she spent many years as an educator in Chicago public schools and now runs the popular children's literature Web site PlanetEsme.com and the unique literary salon, the PlanetEsme Bookroom.

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Read an Excerpt

September 27

After lunch each day I ready aloud to them. We push the desks out of the way, pull down the shades, and turn off all the lights, except for an antique Victorian desk lamp I have. It is a very cozy time.

I was reading them The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, about a Polish immigrant girl who is so poor that she wears the same dress to school every day but insists that she had a hundred dresses lined up in her closet. The girls tease her mercilessly until she moves away. Her antagonists discover that she really did have a hundred dresses...a hundred beautiful drawings of dresses. Oh, God, it took everything not to cry when I closed the book! I especially like that the story is told from the teaser's point of view.

Well, everything was quiet at the end, but then Ashworth asked if he could whisper something in my ear. He whispered, "I have to tell the class something," and discreetly showed me that he was missing half of a finger. It was a very macabre moment, but I didn't flinch.

I faced him toward the class and put my hands on his shoulders. He was trembling terribly. "Ashworth has something personal to share with you. I hope you will keep in mind The Hundred Dresses when he tells you."

"I...I only have nine and a half fingers," he choked. "Please don't tease me about it." He held up his hands.

The class hummed, impressed, then was silent as Ashworth shifted on his feet. Finally, Billy called out, "I'll kick the ass of anyone who makes fun of you!"

"Yeah, me too!" said Kirk.

"Yeah, Ash! You just tell us if anyone from another class messes with you, we'll beat their ass up and down!"

Yeah, yeah, yeah! The class became united in the spirit of ass-kicking. Ashworth sighed and smiled at me. The power of literature!

September 29

New girl, Esther, from Haiti. Dark, eyes darting, frightened. "She's got a record of fighting from her other school," Ms. Coil explained. Who asked her?

"Salut, mon amie!" I welcomed her. Her shoulders dropped, relaxed. Her smile is beautiful and full of mischief.

The Kids like something new I made: the Thinking Cap. It's an oversized hat made of prismatic gold paper, with a long prismatic paper tree coming out about two feet off the top. It says THINKING CAP in black press-on letters across the front. The kids have become very thoughtful since it's been introduced.

September 30

Shira is Filipino and speaks mostly Tagalog. Sometimes she goes into fetal position under her desk. She has four brothers, named Vincent I, Vincent II, Vincent III, Vincent IV.

Today Shira was crying because she felt Twanette took her pen. Twanette said no, it was her pen, she got it for 10 cents at Walgreen's. The pen looked more expensive than that, so I didn't really believe it. Plus, I know those kind are sold in sets. And finally, Shira had work in her notebook in that pink ink.

After school, Shira's stepfather came in and told me that Shira complained that Twanette took Shira's menstrual pad our of the garbage in the bathroom and showed it to the other girls.

Twanette also chews big wads of gum and took neon green glue she was not supposed to use and gooped up a whole table, almost ruining some expensive books.

So when I saw Twanette's mom had come to pick her up after school, I asked to talk with her. I started by telling her that Twanette has really been improving in completing her work and that I was proud of her efforts. Then I told her the rest, explaining that I hadn't actually seen the menstrual pad thing but that the father complained and we had to be extra sensitive because Shira had been only in the country only a couple of months and had trouble speaking up for herself.

Right about then, the mom started wonking Twanette over the head with a rolled-up magazine she was holding. She assured me that she would whip Twanette with a belt at home, adding apologetically that she usually whips Twanette every six months, but she's been behind schedule.

When I suggested that perhaps a belt would not be effective in changing Twanette's attitude, the mom assured me, "Twanette's attitude's gone change after this, believe you me, you won't have no more problems with this girl!"

Twanette was hysterical and denying everything. Mom called her a "big dork" and other things. It was very depressing, and I felt responsible. I acted very calm, but when they left I dry-heaved into the wastebasket. I felt like hell.

I hope Twanette doesn't shoot me tomorrow for telling on her.

Twanette didn't shoot me today. She wrote me a thank you not for saying something good about her to her mom. We also had the alphabet museum. Three kindergarten classes came through. It was a big success.

The kids keep journals. They can write in them during Free Reading if they choose. If they don't want me to read something, they put an E with a circle and a line through it at the top of the page, a symbol for "No Esmes allowed." I read them anyway, but I don't tell. I find out interesting things. For instance, Ashworth was upset all day because I wore pants, and I never wear pants. He thought his real teacher must have been abducted by aliens.

October 5, my birthday

Terrible thing. Somebody stole the Columbus comic book. I said, "Whoever did it, just put it back," but nobody did. So after school I took the whole library down and shoved it in the closet and locked it. The kids noticed right away the next morning.

"I told you if you stole from me, I'd take it all back. I'm not a liar."

"That's not fair," one girl complained. "We didn't all steal the book!"

"No, I'll tell you what's not fair. My working Saturdays so that you can read real literature and then having the books stolen from under my nose. That's really not fair. I only share with friends. I'm not going to leave my personal possessions out when I can't trust the people I'm with. Would you?"

Nobody answered. I passed out the reading textbooks. The children complained noisily. "You're getting what the rest of the school gets," I reminded them. "I don't see what's the problem."

The mood was grim for the rest of the day. I thought, They have good taste. They know this is boring.

But I'm worried. What if they never get the book back? Am I going to have to teach reading like this all year? I have to be consistent with my threat, or they will never believe me again. I'll have no discipline. I won't be able to teach anything.

God, Kid! Give me back the stupid book and let me teach you the best way I know how!

I'm so disappointed. It was a struggle not to cry in front of them.

Excerpted from Educating Esmé: Diary of a teacher's first year. Copyright (c) 1999. Reprinted with permission by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 32 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 33 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Bridget's Review

    Have you ever wondered what it would be like to teach children for a living? I'm sure we've all taught at least one child one thing or another in our lifetime. Witnessing my nephew learning to do new things makes me so happy. He gets a big ole grin on his face and you can just see how proud he is of himself. He also whispers, "I did it!" and you can hear the pride in his voice. It is a wonderful thing, teaching a child. I couldn't imagine teaching a class of twenty kids and feeling a surge of emotion every time a child learned something new. At the same time, it would be extremely difficult to try to teach a child who doesn't understand what you say.

    When I first received an email about EDUCATING ESME, I knew that I had to read it. I've always been fascinated with education and still to this day, one of my goals is to learn at least one new thing a day. Even if it is something as simple as a new world. Knowledge truly is power and I actually have a craving for learning. Anyway, enough about me.

    Esme catalogs her experiences as a teacher in a diary her first year. She's the kind of teacher kids need growing up. She is an independent, no-nonsense, straight to the point, understanding person who truly wants to guide her students through the school year. She isn't your average teacher, she doesn't just want to teach these kids, she wants them to really learn. She's not satisfied with her students knowing 2+2=4. She wants them to understand why it equals 4 and how they can apply their knowledge in everyday life.

    Esme quickly learns that she has her work cut out for her. The good thing is, she knows just how to handle the situations placed in front of her. She's has a wild spirit and enjoys shocking the students as well as fellow teachers. Esme is known to roller-skate in the school hallways and dance during a math session. Not only do Esme have what it takes to reach these children, they also have what it takes to teach her a few lessons as well.

    A wonderful, uplifting read that will keep you doubled over with laughter.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I read this book waaaaaaaay back in high school when it first ca

    I read this book waaaaaaaay back in high school when it first came out in my teacher prep class. Madame Esme was touring and came to an event to speak. I met her and she even signed my copy!

    The book itself was wonderful and it gave you an incite as to what it would be like to teach at an intercity school (with a horrible principal too). I would highly recommend this book to anyone thinking about becoming a teacher. She had it rough, but she came out of her first year of teaching on TOP!

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    Definitely entertaining!

    While some of Madame Esme's stories are almost unbelievable, this book is entertaining to say the least. I originally thought this would be helpful to me during my first year of teaching; however this seems to be meant more as entertainment than a memoir. It's definitely worth reading, but don't expect any stellar teaching advice or even any really useful information. It's mostly fluff.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2010

    Great for teachers!

    Very good and inspiring for future teachers. Esme is honest and that honesty is greatly appreciated!

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  • Posted August 15, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Esme Educating Us

    College Girl hopes to teach theater one day. I know how hard that first year is on a new teacher. So I was excited to have a chance to read Educating Esme-Diary of a Teacher's First Year.

    Esme Raji Codell kept a diary when she started her first class. In here she voices her fears, knowledge, excitement and accomplishments. More so Esme shows us how a class room works when you really want to make a difference. Her innovative lessons along with a stern loving heart touched children's lives in extraordinary ways.

    Educating Esme is now 10 years old with 200,000 copies sold and has been re-published with a tip guide for teachers and teachers-to-be. There is also honest advice and a teacher's shopping guide. The ALEX (from the American Library Association) Award was given to this book along with a first place from the Education Writers Association. This is not a text book, but a true story of a teacher growing and learning in her chosen field.

    Esme Codell is a nationally renowned advocate for literacy. She has launched Planet Esme to help others who work with children and literacy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2009

    Quick Read

    Great book with a lot of interesting ideas. The book reads very easily, and is humorous and thoughtful. Esme is a teacher who tests the boundaries of her school environment. She ruffles a few feathers, but betters her students in the process. This book is an excellent read for beginning and seasoned teachers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2008

    How a First Year Teacher Survives

    This book is a somewhat spiritual event. Esme is very open and frank about all her struggles in her first year of Teaching. She makes mistakes but she honestly wants to be the best teacher she can be! I think every first year teacher should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2006

    Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

    Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell is a diary of her first year teaching fifth grade in a Chicago public school. It is written in journal form and describes her trials and tribulations while teaching. The book describes how Esmé handles parents, disciplining students, and unruly principals. It explains her thoughts and feelings as teacher as well as her teaching style and her classroom. The book gives inside to a first year teacher¿s life and explains the ups and downs of it. She is a creative teacher who loves to make a difference in her students¿ lives, no matter how hard it is. She loves finding new ways to teach just like when she made the time machine for teh students to read in. In this book I like how she explains exactly how teaching is. Esmé explains both the good and bad times and how she handles them. She is able to be successful and enjoy teaching for the love of the students instead of just a job. I also like how she makes teaching fun and creative. She involves the students and makes them work hard and enjoy going to her class. She has great ideas and is very inspiring. She is also able to make the book humorous and enjoyable to read. I did not like how the book is written in journal form because it makes the book choppy. There is not much flow but it¿s easy to understand her life. Anyone who is a teacher or planning on becoming a teacher should read this book. Overall, I liked this book and it was fun to read. It gave great inside into teaching in a public school and all the events teachers incorporate.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2006

    Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

    Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell is a diary of her first year teaching fifth grade in a Chicago public school. It is written in journal form and describes her trials and tribulations while teaching. The book describes how Esmé handles parents, disciplining students, and unruly principals. It explains her thoughts and feelings as teacher as well as her teaching style and her classroom. The book gives inside to a first year teacher¿s life and explains the ups and downs of it. She is a creative teacher who loves to make a difference in her students¿ lives, no matter how hard it is. She loves finding new ways to teach, just like when she made the time machine for the students to read in. In this book I like how she explains exactly how teaching is. Esmé explains both the good and bad times and how she handles them. She is able to be successful and enjoy teaching for the love of the students instead of just a job. I also like how she makes teaching fun and creative. She involves the students and makes them work hard and enjoy going to her class. She has great ideas and is very inspiring. She is also able to make the book humorous and enjoyable to read. I did not like how the book is written in journal form because it makes the book choppy. There is not much flow but it¿s easy to understand her life. Anyone who is a teacher or planning on becoming a teacher should read this book. Overall, I liked this book and it was fun to read. It gave great inside into teaching in a public school and all the events teachers incorporate.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2005

    amazing teacher..must read for all teachers

    Esme is an amazing teacher. If only all teachers could have the drive that she does. This is a very good book. It was very funny and touching. The epilogue had me in tears, literally. I would read it again, and recommended it to all future and practicing teachers.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2004

    A Must Read For New Teachers!

    'Educating Esme': Diary of a Teacher's First Year is a compelling, compassionate read. It also has a special place for those whom society calls disadvantaged. I am a 25 year veteran of teaching in the public schools and this book reads as true as UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE or GOODBYE MR. CHIPS...I very highly recommend that young people going into education as a career read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 13, 2004

    Good, but not GREAT!

    Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell is a diary of the author¿s trials and tribulations during her first year teaching. She learns that sometimes everyone doesn¿t like ¿her¿ way of doing things in this inner city Chicago school. She never gives up though, due to her extraordinary will to succeed. Madame Esmé, as she likes to be called, talks as though she is the only teacher in the school. She writes about being the only one in her school that really cares about the students, and she is the lone one who tries to connect with them. This book was good, but not great. I wouldn¿t read it again, and I would only recommend it to someone going into teaching. I believe that I wasn¿t too interested in it merely because I¿m not into teaching. This book is full of details, but none seem to go anywhere. Nothing eventful happens in this book that makes readers want to keep going to find out what happens next; every event is predictable. Overall, I enjoyed the reading experience, but would not read this book again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2003

    Educating Esmé

    Educating Esmé is an excellent book about first year teacher Esmé Codell. Esmé is teaching in a school in inner city Chicago. The book is written in a journal form, with daily entries. Esmé writes in this journal throughout the year discussing triumphs and failures. She describes her thoughts and feelings, the way her classroom is set up, activities she does in her classroom and outside the classroom, her unique teaching style, problems she has with the principal, Mr. Turner, and the students she taught. It is clear through Esmé vivid descriptions that she is a very unique and creative teacher who has a wonderful ability of reaching the students, even if it means upsetting other teachers or Mr. Turner. Esmé does what she wants to do, but with a purpose. Her insight into teaching and some of her ideas can be very useful for future and current educators. Educating Esmé is a great book that once you start to read, you can not wait to find out what kind of crazy thing is going to happen next. Esmé¿s connection with her students and her creativity are incredibly inspiring. The school system would be an incredibly interesting place if more teachers were like Esmé Codell.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2003

    hilarious but touching

    Educating Esme is a wonderful book about an eccentric teacher at a public school in Chicago. The book would be interesting to all, not just teachers and soon-to-be teachers. Teachers to get creative ideas of things to use in their own classroom can use the book. She is very creative and does special things in her classroom for the children. She has a lot of inviting decorations and activities for the kids to do. She is very firm and consistent in her teaching style. She also shows the problems involved with teachers, like dealing with parents, undisciplined children and unruly principals. The book is written in diary form, which gives the reader a better day-to-day recount than, if it was reflected on at the end of the year. The book is rather humorous and you can follow her ups and downs throughout the first year. It is a good read for anybody to see into the live of a rookie teacher.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 22, 2003

    Inspirational! A must have for any inspiring teacher!

    My friend recommended this book to me. We are both in the elementary education program in college and she told me I HAD to read this book. I finished it within the day! It was so inspirational! It gives you a real-life look into teaching and how being creative and a little different can go a long way. It also outlines just how hard it can be and how she was able to overcome a lot of obstacles. She had so many amazing accomplishments just in her first year. It really makes me excited to go into teaching. I really took away a lot of good ideas/advise from this book that I will incorporate into my own class.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 7, 2003

    Great

    This is honestly one of the best books I've ever read. It makes sense. Defenitely worth reading. I finished it in one day and can't wait to own it for good.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 27, 2002

    Inspiring must have for parents, teachers, and soon to be teachers

    I read this book for a sociocultual issues class in education. It was amazing and more than an inspiring read. I highlighted all over the book and I plan to implement much of it when I am a teacher. It reassured me that teaching at-risk children is what I want to do. I just wish Esme could make a whole book about what she has been doing since, I know she had a baby and I think has become a principal (but I am not sure). She has a great website for the book too, type in Educating Esme in your search browser. After I finished the book I went exploring all over the internet to learn more about Esme, and this website is great!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2002

    FUNNY BOOK

    This is a funny journal about a young teacher's first year in the classroom. While some of her student's lives are tragic, Esme's anecdotes are amusing. I laughed out loud in parts of this. I will recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2002

    Inspiring

    As a fristyear student just starting my journey to become a teacher, this book was truly inspiring. It is one of those books that you pick up and just can't put it down! Esme did great activities with her students that truly inspired me. My favorite part was how she made up different names for the subjects: like she called math puzzling. Also, I love the idea of the time machine. I highly reccomed this book to anyone!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2002

    empowers teachers to strive for excellence

    This is the kind of book that you pick up and read cover to cover. Although it is written in a novel like format, it has tips that could be used in your classroom. Its funny, shocking, and gives you a feeling of 'I want to be a teacher just like her.' Basically, it helps you feel empowered while also being entertaining.

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