Real Talk for Real Teachers: Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans: “No Retreat, No Surrender”

Rafe Esquith, Author
Rafe Esquith. Viking, $26.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-670-01464-4
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-0-14-312561-7
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In his fourth book, Los Angeles elementary school teacher Esquith (Teach Like Your Hair’s On Fire), who has become famous for transforming his classroom of underprivileged fifth-graders into classical music–playing, Shakespeare-performing superachievers, offers a tonic for stressed-out teachers. While the truly inspiring world of Esquith’s Room 56 at Hobart Elementary is on display, it’s a backdrop for explaining that in spite of teachers’ Herculean efforts, things won’t always work out perfectly. The book is divided into sections addressing new teachers, midcareer teachers, and veterans; Esquith begins by explaining the importance of involving students in the process of creating and maintaining classroom standards, and the need to make the curriculum relevant. Using anecdotes from his 30-year career, Esquith helps teachers focus on what they can achieve, not on what they can’t. He tells teachers to stay positive when dealing with difficult school administrators, meaningless standardized tests, uninvolved or unreasonable parents, and negative coworkers. Esquith also encourages teachers to maintain balance in their lives. Most surprising is his blunt admission that not everything will work, and not every student can be reached—at some point, teachers have to devote their efforts to the students who want to learn. The enormously valuable book will help keep teachers energized. Agent: Bonnie Solow, Solow Literary. (July)
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