**Educating Esme by Esme Raji Codell (2009/1999)

educating esmeBook Review: I really enjoyed this book, written in diary form, by a 5th grade teacher who chronicles her first year in a Chicago public school.  Esme hides nothing: she tells us about the creepy principal, the mother who beats her child in front of her, the misbehaved boy who turns  his behavior around after being assigned to teach the class for one whole day, the mesmerized students who adore being read to, the crying episodes at the end of a frustrating day, the huge increase in student test scores, the successful visit by an author, the battle over using Madame Esme instead of Ms. Codell.  She experiences highs and lows and everything in between.  And she pulls it off with the very energy with which she teaches her class: lots of great imagery and a strong voice which pulls the reader right into her world.  Since I spent my first three years teaching in a Chicago public school as well, there was much I could intentify with in her narrative.  And though I currently teach in a middle class high school, her insights still offer much to me and to any teacher of any grade.  Above all, passion for teaching and learning will benefit students more than any mandated curriculum or state standards ever will.  I have always subscribed to that philosophy, and I hope I will always practice it.  (memoir)

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