Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year



Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year A Must Read For Parents, New Teachers, And Classroom Veterans, Educating Esmis The Exuberant Diary Of Esm Raji Codell S First Year Teaching In A Chicago Public School Fresh Mouthed And Free Spirited, The Irrepressible Madame Esm As She Prefers To Be Called Does The Cha Cha During Multiplication Tables, Roller Skates Down The Hallways, And Puts On Rousing Performances With At Risk Students In The Library Her Diary Opens A Window Into A Real Life Classroom From A Teacher S Perspective While Battling Bureaucrats, Gang Members, Abusive Parents, And Her Own Insecurities, This Gifted Young Woman Reveals What It Takes To Be An Exceptional Teacher Heroine To Thousands Of Parents And Educators, Esm Now Shares Of Her Ingenious And Yet Down To Earth Approaches To The Classroom In A Supplementary Guide To Help New Teachers Hit The Ground Running As Relevant And Iconoclastic As When It Was First Published, Educating Esmis A Classic, As Is Madame Esm Herself

10 thoughts on “Educating Esmé: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

  1. says:

    This book really annoyed me It is, as it says, the Diary of a Teacher s First Year , and it sounds like in her first year, Madame Esme as she insists on being called, a source of endless and essentially pointless conflict with her principal , is a really fabulous teacher She dreams up and flawlessly executes all kinds of spectacularly innovative and effective lessons Her students love and respect her She gets grants She wins awards She improves test scores.And that s where this book just This book really annoyed me It is, as it says, the Diary of a Teacher s First Year , and it sounds like in her first year, Madame Esme as she insists on being called, a source of endless and essentially pointless conflict with her principal , is a really fabulous teacher She dreams up and flawlessly executes all kinds of spectacularly innovative and effective lessons Her students love and respect her She gets grants She wins awards She improves test scores.And that s where this book just loses me Where does this 24 year old with no experience get the self confidence to stand up to her administrators so cockily day after day, and each time with zingers worthy of a sitcom writer Why does she seem to need no help or advice, but instead to be so creative and resourceful that she can do the instructional equivalent of leaping tall buildings in a single bound every day Why do her students exist solely as funny or touching anecdotes that generally serve to show how totally awesome she is And how does she find the time for all of those bulletin boards I just don t believe that Madame Esme could possibly be as great as she clearly believes she is.My experience of being a first year teacher, and those of my many friends with whom I endlessly discuss classroom highs and lows even though some of us have been out of the classroom for several years was one of a bottomless pit of insecurity, a never ending fear that your inexperience and idealistic zeal were shortcomings that were hurting the children you cameandto love every day I felt like these inner city children were entrusted to me to be my guinea pigs their educations handed over to my care so I could experiment with them and maybe come up with a successful teaching method here and there along the way Countless lessons that I thought out carefully and put hours of loving creative energy into were total flops and left me with a classroom full of fidgety bodies and blank or confused eyes Yes, some of the lessons clicked I will always remember the thrill of realizing that I had finally actually eliminated run on sentences from my children s writing or the way that all of the children started calling the bathroom the loo because they were tickled by our read aloud book Roald Dahl s Boy but for each success I am haunted by endless failures sweet, little Randy who stared at me with dark serious eyes, ringed by the longest lashes, reminded me, his husky little voice, dripping with concern as he urged me not to strain my voice by yelling during the week I came in with laryngitis, the way he read so fluently and beautifully, with inflection and emotion, but failed every single spelling test and writing assignment that I gave because he wrote by grouping letters together in completely random strings that meant absolutely nothing, I never got anywhere with addressing what was clearly a serious learning disability of some sort And I worry about him and feel guilty about letting him slip through even now, 8 years later There were so many kids and so many problems and I had so little support And this is where my problems with Educating Esme lie Esme identifies tons of very real problems that are detrimental to our children s educations the poverty, violence, and fear that mar their unstable home lives day after day, the gangs that provide them with a sense of belonging and importance and rob them of their true potential and opportunity, educators who lack vision and creativity but she makes it sound like with a little hard work and some chutzpah she managed to turn it all around She never points the finger at herself or identifies any shortfalls in her own classroom I think this creates a myth that does a disservice to all of the hard working teachers out there who do so much with so little and don t see any progress Yes, having smart innovative people working in our classrooms is important and they can do incredible things, but they cannot single handedly overcome an education system that is broken The problems in our classrooms are just too big for one twenty something with an over developed sense of her own importance to tackle And in the end Esme s ego gets in her way And in the end she lasts through just one year before she takes a cushy suburban job where she still feels under appreciated This book seemed like Esme patting herself on the back for managing to survive one year of the substandard system that rules the entire lives of too many American children And possibly conveniently forgetting any rookie mistakes she might have made She minimizes the difficulties that our teachers face and maximizes her own brilliance But it is entertaining reading

  2. says:

    The author gets my respect for working in a tough situation My parents were teachers for many years in inner city Miami and, having grown up with their stories, I know just how difficult the job can be.However, this book was aggravating on a number of levels 1 I m a fantastic teacher and I work so hard Ad nauseum 2 I m so terribly underappreciated Whiny.3 My bosses and co workers are all lazy and stupid and just don t get it Mean spirited.4 Unrealistic situations Esme seems to li The author gets my respect for working in a tough situation My parents were teachers for many years in inner city Miami and, having grown up with their stories, I know just how difficult the job can be.However, this book was aggravating on a number of levels 1 I m a fantastic teacher and I work so hard Ad nauseum 2 I m so terribly underappreciated Whiny.3 My bosses and co workers are all lazy and stupid and just don t get it Mean spirited.4 Unrealistic situations Esme seems to live in a dream world, where she can single handedly defeat a variety of social ills and can scream at and insult her boss and face no direct repercussions Her students may be behind, academically, but are all relatively charming, are generally interested in learning, and their parents are on the teacher s side She sounds like she had some great ideas, and she was obviously willing to put in a lot of hard work But it was all presented so unrealistically pompously smugly that I couldn t really appreciate any of it None of the ideas she puts out ever fail they re all spectacular successes, and she doesn t get thanked for any of them But this makessense when, later in the book, she states that her raison d etre is her resume, not her students success.Her students STAB a substitute teacher in the back with a pencil, and she seems marginally OK with it She even had to mash down the smile that I felt humming behind my lips Ummm Whaaaa If I was planning on a teaching career, I may possibly have been able to glean some ideas from this book As I was reading purely out of interest, I found it self aggrandizing and marginally delusional

  3. says:

    I currently work as a substitute teacher so I m always looking for books that might inspire me should I ever want to become a teacher Unfortunately, this book didn t do that for me The author did nothing but brag about what a great teacher she is and then proceeded to put down other staff members I found her work ethic to be unprofessional One of the methods she uses to promote language arts is to have her students give her a word before they enter the classroom and then she takes that word I currently work as a substitute teacher so I m always looking for books that might inspire me should I ever want to become a teacher Unfortunately, this book didn t do that for me The author did nothing but brag about what a great teacher she is and then proceeded to put down other staff members I found her work ethic to be unprofessional One of the methods she uses to promote language arts is to have her students give her a word before they enter the classroom and then she takes that word and writes it on a tagboard I have a word for her h u m b l e

  4. says:

    I find this diary of a first year 24 year old teacher a bit irritating.Not only is Ms Esme there I called you Ms unlikable and unrelatable , her diary actually is quit a boring read and it shouldn t be considering the backdrop Esme teaches 31 inner city 5th graders in Chicago who are improverished and have many social, emotional pyschological and learning issues and disabilities, ranging from homelessness to abuse to neglect and lets not forget Esme IS a first year teacher Considering w I find this diary of a first year 24 year old teacher a bit irritating.Not only is Ms Esme there I called you Ms unlikable and unrelatable , her diary actually is quit a boring read and it shouldn t be considering the backdrop Esme teaches 31 inner city 5th graders in Chicago who are improverished and have many social, emotional pyschological and learning issues and disabilities, ranging from homelessness to abuse to neglect and lets not forget Esme IS a first year teacher Considering what i knew I thought this would be an enjoyable read but Esme or Madame Esme as she insists on being called, and is endlessly discussed and argued about with her principal, or bitched about to fellow teachers whom she clearly looks down on IS JUST perfect These children are all facing HUGE issues and she has 31 students Esme handles each issue effortlessly and occasionaly cusses afterwards After a student steals a book from the library she worked so hard on and funded herself , she bans everyone in class from using the library when a mother complains my daughter don t steal,what don t you trust her keep in mind NO one is as aeticulate as Esme Esme matter of factly responds no i don t trust them they are 10 and 11 year old children learning about accountabiliy ectr ectr blah , blah BORNG She wins awards, comes up with the best bullentin boards puts on amazing events and plays i know the older teachers are going to say my room is over stimulating but my room is the best i would want my kid to be in this classroom.My room is AWESOME I m AWESOME blah ,blah, blah Ive made all these inner city chldren awesome with all of my , wait NO EXPERIENCE , in less than a year her students whom didn t even know the alhpabet in the begining of the year at best and couldn t speak or read english at the worst , somehow manage to score the highest in the entire school on the Iowa standarized test Guess how ALL ESME She regards other teachers as weak , babies or just know her kids will eat her alive she is too sweet and cries alot but they don t pull that shit with Madame Esme, because she has become the worlds most creative, empatheic, inspiring, talented, hardworking,and perfected the tough love approach with discipline all in less than a few months Seriously oh and dont forget how AWESOME she is Her children beg her to continue Reading Aloud Time , yet are homeless, gang members, drug dealers, neglected, abused and bring guns to school, but when Esme has them gather round to read to them they just cannot get enough She seems way too overly confident to be believable and while I understand the book is a diary the writing is so elementary , i would put it at a 4th grade reading level It took me one small sitting to read, and while a few good ideas and lessons may be found only if you can tolerate this annoying woman and childlike read I would have put the book down after the first chapter had it not been so short and for the lack of other reading materials on my lanai at the time

  5. says:

    Wow I read this book in one evening It s a quick and moving read.I ve been running into this book for a while, seeing it listed on people s GoodReads shelves and getting requests for it from other libraries through interlibrary loan Yesterday while I was pulling books, I saw a copy just sitting on the shelf, and I decided to take it home.The author of this book is very slick She starts the book in such a way that it seems like it s just going to be a can you believe these kids and the school Wow I read this book in one evening It s a quick and moving read.I ve been running into this book for a while, seeing it listed on people s GoodReads shelves and getting requests for it from other libraries through interlibrary loan Yesterday while I was pulling books, I saw a copy just sitting on the shelf, and I decided to take it home.The author of this book is very slick She starts the book in such a way that it seems like it s just going to be a can you believe these kids and the school s nutball principal kind of tale Then, halfway into it she starts telling sad, crazy stories about the rough family lives these fifth graders have One girl is half an hour late for school four days in a row because her family is living in a shelter, and she s got to get her little sister to school before she herself can take the train to school Another kid is angry and acting out because his dad is in a wheelchair due to gun violence On and on and on until I was crying over what little kids go through every day It may be a cliche to say that I laughed and I cried, but I did, that s the truth

  6. says:

    This is a MUST read for teachers or anyone interested in the field of education I loved reading this book because the author was SO honest about her feelings and her experiences I kept thinking WOW Someone feels the same way I do and they are not afraid to express it I loved her idea on page 30 about a trouble box Where students can leave notes about things that are bothering them And her titles for roles in literature groups on page 118 Discussion director makes up questions Literary This is a MUST read for teachers or anyone interested in the field of education I loved reading this book because the author was SO honest about her feelings and her experiences I kept thinking WOW Someone feels the same way I do and they are not afraid to express it I loved her idea on page 30 about a trouble box Where students can leave notes about things that are bothering them And her titles for roles in literature groups on page 118 Discussion director makes up questions Literary Luminary reads aloud good parts from the book Language lover defines what they believe is the hardest word in the reading Practical Predictor predicts what will happen next Process checker sums up the reading.SUPER BOOK

  7. says:

    April, 2012 This novel was a required reading for my Intro to Teaching course last semester and critiquing it against what we were learning and seeing in classrooms made me realize how difficult Esme made her life and career I understand being out of the box and having to face challenges with students in tough districts, but Esme sought out fights She always had to be right She had issues with authority And even though a lot of her ideas were indeed creative, at what cost did those around h April, 2012 This novel was a required reading for my Intro to Teaching course last semester and critiquing it against what we were learning and seeing in classrooms made me realize how difficult Esme made her life and career I understand being out of the box and having to face challenges with students in tough districts, but Esme sought out fights She always had to be right She had issues with authority And even though a lot of her ideas were indeed creative, at what cost did those around her have to pay to receive her genius The worst part for me was that the focus should be on the students, and all her shenanigans detracted from that singular goal I have since given away my copy One reading was enough

  8. says:

    This was a quick read, and I enjoyed it for the most part I did get a few chuckles, and I appreciated her non traditional teaching style, but the book borders on a 200 page humble brag The author is constantly putting down her principal, though some of those times are warranted, but she also refers to her colleagues as crybabies and gossips Her students stabbed a substitute teacherand she was almost proud.I was hoping this would beof a memoir, but it literally reads like a diary oth This was a quick read, and I enjoyed it for the most part I did get a few chuckles, and I appreciated her non traditional teaching style, but the book borders on a 200 page humble brag The author is constantly putting down her principal, though some of those times are warranted, but she also refers to her colleagues as crybabies and gossips Her students stabbed a substitute teacherand she was almost proud.I was hoping this would beof a memoir, but it literally reads like a diary other reviewers have mentioned that the author sounds whiny or downright rude, but I was waiting for the author to connect her experiences to larger issues, and that never happened that was a little disappointing

  9. says:

    She s refreshing honest and likeable even the title of her book lets you know she knows what teaching is all about learning It was what I always told people who used to ask me about homeschooling I d turn around and ask them, How much do you like to learn As a teacher, as much as a parent, we have to be prepared to be constantly learning, constantly failing, constantly correcting ourselves and being willing to learn from our students children.The book is a diary and reads as such the da She s refreshing honest and likeable even the title of her book lets you know she knows what teaching is all about learning It was what I always told people who used to ask me about homeschooling I d turn around and ask them, How much do you like to learn As a teacher, as much as a parent, we have to be prepared to be constantly learning, constantly failing, constantly correcting ourselves and being willing to learn from our students children.The book is a diary and reads as such the daily entry format works for this book although her writing reads rather crude and rough in parts She was young and taught in a Chicago public school where she had to be tough to survive Nevertheless, she was a teacher who could teach She cared deeply about children and knew how to motivate them, get them to work and care about learning, because she cared She was the kind of teacher every parent would hope their child would have every year in school Esm Raji Codell inspired me when I was teaching my children Would that she would inspire many others I read this book in one day

  10. says:

    Esm Codell s first teaching job was as a 5th grade teacher in one of Chicago s poorest schools Her students were bright and sassy and full of spunk, and she alternatively loved them and hated them More so, however, she struggled with the administration s lack of imagination and the many obstacles they threw up in her way she and the principal just couldn t see eye to eye most of the time, and were constantly engaged in a power struggle over things as ridiculous as Madame Esm s title of ad Esm Codell s first teaching job was as a 5th grade teacher in one of Chicago s poorest schools Her students were bright and sassy and full of spunk, and she alternatively loved them and hated them More so, however, she struggled with the administration s lack of imagination and the many obstacles they threw up in her way she and the principal just couldn t see eye to eye most of the time, and were constantly engaged in a power struggle over things as ridiculous as Madame Esm s title of address in her classroom Still, she gives an inspiring account of her devotion to her kids and their classroom the extra time she spent with the kids, the extra money she spent out of her own pocket to purchase them a classroom library, and the things she taught them Since this is, essentially, her journal, it details Esme s trials as well as her triumphs Great and fast read I can t decide if, as a student I was pretty quiet and shy , I would have loved or hated having Madame Esm as a teacher She sounds awesome as a person, but I think she would have scared the living daylights out of me if I were a kid She s like her kids smart, nervy, and doesn t take any crap from anyone I d like to know her, but not in the classroom Excerpt Well, they stabbed the substitute today In the back, with a pencil The paramedics said it was only a flesh wound She didn t press any charges, she just went home Who did it Mr Turner howled at them They were silent Who in their right mind would say anything He stomped out.I sat behind my desk and looked at them They were sitting very nicely The mood in the room was somewhat pleasant I had been gone only twenty minutes Mr Turner had called me out to troubleshoot some computer problem and had called in a substitute who was on break from filling in for another teacher When I came back, this woman was gone In twenty minutes, had they really managed to stab someone Would anyone tell me why I asked, genuinely curious p 100

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