The Emergency Teacher: The Inspirational Story of a New Teacher in an Inner-City School

Overview

The Emergency Teacher is Christina Asquith’s moving firsthand account of her year spent teaching in one of Philadelphia’s worst schools. Told with striking humor and honesty, her story begins when the School District of Philadelphia, faced with 1,500 teacherless classrooms, instituted a policy of hiring “emergency certified” teachers to fill the void. Asquith, a twenty-five-year-old reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, joined their untrained ranks. Assigned to a classroom ...

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The Emergency Teacher: The Inspirational Story of a New Teacher in an Inner City School

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Overview

The Emergency Teacher is Christina Asquith’s moving firsthand account of her year spent teaching in one of Philadelphia’s worst schools. Told with striking humor and honesty, her story begins when the School District of Philadelphia, faced with 1,500 teacherless classrooms, instituted a policy of hiring “emergency certified” teachers to fill the void. Asquith, a twenty-five-year-old reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, joined their untrained ranks. Assigned to a classroom known as “the Badlands,” she was told to “sink or swim.”

More challenging than the classroom are the trials she faces outside it, including the antics of an overwhelmed first-year principal, the politics that prevent a million-dollar grant from reaching her students, and the administration’s shocking insistence that teachers maintain the appearance of success in the face of utter defeat, even if it means falsifying test scores. Asquith tells a classic story of succeeding against insurmountable odds.

With a foreword by bestselling author Mark Bowden and an introduction by award-winning educator Dr. Harry K. Wong, The Emergency Teacher will inspire every teacher—be they first-timers or experienced professionals—to make a difference.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
When young Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Christina Asquith accepted a teaching job at one of Philadelphia's most dangerous schools, she received many pieces of advice: "Just remember that you're in charge. The most important thing is discipline." "Don't smile until Thanksgiving." "Never enter a showdown you can't win." And some people just wondered aloud whether she was crazy. What she learned during her rough immersion will challenge and bolster the spirits of anyone who wants to believe in public education.
Publishers Weekly

Answering the challenge to "change a life," freelance reporter Asquith-armed with youth, enthusiasm and idealism-enters the halls of Philadelphia's Julia de Burgos Middle School to do just that. By the end of the year, while she outlasts 25% of the other "emergency teachers" hired to meet the shortfall of teachers in Philadelphia, the fights, arsons and battles with the administration have taken their toll. Although the events of the book took place eight years ago and most of the source references are similarly dated, Asquith gives a valuable account of the challenges teachers face in the nation's inner-city schools-and the kids are the least of her worries. With little support and no curriculum, she learns to teach from her failures, recognizing the injustice to the students who need and deserve a qualified instructor. But her sense of frustration and powerlessness are most tangible when she describes the ineffectiveness of available disciplinary actions, the herd mentality of students roaming the halls and the gaping administrative holes (not cracks) through which students with special needs slip. Despite it all, the kids make Asquith's endeavor bearable if challenging. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781602391932
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing
  • Publication date: 11/13/2007
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 978,298
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Christina Asquith

Christina Asquith is a former reporter for The Philadelphia Inquirer, and has written for The New York Times, The Economist, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She has a master's degree in Educational Philosophy from The London School of Economics and Politics. She lives in Washington, D.C. Her web site is christinareporting.com

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