Educating Esme

Educating EsmeCodell, Esme Raji. Educating Esme:  Diary oi a Teacher’s First Year. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 1999.

Word to the wise: if you want to celebrate education month and you need something really quick to read, grab Educating Esme. Barely 200 pages it’s an entertaining, fast and funny book. This one interested me on so many different levels. For starters, at one time I thought I might be a teacher – even declared Education as my major for a while (until I found out that you never have time to read anything, you just pretend you do). It also interested me because I know two different people who have gone through that “first year” of teaching. They had completely different experiences and I wanted to compare notes.

What went on LibraryThing:
Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher’s First Year  is smart and funny. It’s a journey inside the mind of a young, fresh-minded educator hell bent on doing things her way. Her lessons and style of teaching are engaging. They allow students to be themselves and in the process learn something.  The students are not bribed or cajoled into lesson plans. Codell disguises education in a safe, fun environment. This is not to say she doesn’t have her share of problems. Chicago has it’s gang culture, it’s broken homes, it’s drug addled families; not to mention a difficult hierarchy within the school system. Codell encounters it all with grace and strength.

Funny quotes: “The way they sassed patrons they didn’t like. The way they seemed to know too much. A little like librarians” (p 62). You would think this quote would somehow offend me on some level…especially considering the fact Esme is describing prostitutes! LOL
“What sort of Jedi would I be if I don’t really face the Dark Side? Mr. Turner may be Vader, but is there an enemy that remains to be revealed , like that bossy old wrinkled guy who told Vader what to do?” (p 112).

BookLust Twist: From Book Lust in the chapter “Teachers and Teaching Tales” (p 230). I love how Pearl calls Codell “relatively” hip (p 231).



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