Nancy Keane's Booktalks -- Quick and Simple

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Codell, Esme Raji
Chapel Hill, N.C. : Algonquin Books, c1999.
ISBN 1565122259
(2 booktalks)
Booktalk #1

Some teachers you remember because they're boring or mean, others because they are inspiring.  Esme Raji Codell was a first year teacher in Chicago when she wrote Educating Esme.  "So much of teaching is sharing."  And "it's not our job to be liked, it's our job to help them be smart."  In sharing her stories of her fifth graders, we see the successes and the challenges. Funny and frank, Esme tells about having a problem student take over the class for a day, imaginative activities she led,  and how she continued to battle her principal over the use of her name!  If I were a child in school now I'd want her for the teacher.  (Sue Gooden, Concord HS, Wilmington, DE

Booktalk #2

Have you ever wondered what the classroom looks like from the OTHER side of the teacherís desk?  You all know what itís like to be a student in a classroom, but whatís it really like to be the teacher?  In Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacherís First Year, you find out right away that itís not just about grading papers.  Madame Esme, as she prefers to be called, has written down a day by day account of her first year as a fifth grade teacher in an inner city school.  She works really hard doing lots of work including things like...
- creating a time machine for her students to ďtravel inĒ while they read
- lending out her own personal library of books
- getting an author to come and visit the school
- planning a fairy tale festival with a fashion show and carnival games
- and she helps her students get excited about reading and improve their grades
Even after all that, her principal complains that sheís not doing a good job!  And thatís not all.  Lots of tough things happen throughout the school year...
- One of her books is stolen, and she has to lock away her library.
- The school bus gets converged upon by gang members during a field trip.
- And she feels responsible when she gets parents involved in classroom discipline issues and her students get beaten at home.
She does have many opportunities to teach the kids real life lessons though.
Let me read you one of my favorite entries.
Read January 12 on pg 88.
Madame Esme sticks to her deal and Billy teaches the class for a whole day.  To find out how Billy does as teacher and maybe get an idea of how you might do as teacher too, read Educating Esme By Esme Raji Codell.  (Stella Shafer,  MLIS student, University of Washington)

SUBJECTS:     Teachers -- Diaries


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