Educating Esmé by: Esmé Raji Codell

Kaitlin Engel

Review of the Book Educating Esmé

Educating Esmé by Esmé Raji Codell is a book talking about a teachers first year of teaching in a Chicago public school. This book is different from other books because of the set up that Codell does with the book. It's set up more like a diary than a book which is why I thought that this book was more of an easy read. I like how she started off the book like a diary entry and kept the consistency throughout the book. A part that really stood out to me was when Codell did a type of lesson she would pick an activity or project that would go along with the lesson. One lesson that her and her student were doing was about history, so to go along with the history project Codell made a "time machine" out of a refrigerator box. I would recommend this book to adults and teens who considered or do consider becoming a teacher. This book is now one of my favorites and I'm so happy that I read it!

How did Educating Esmé impact me as a learner?

Educating Esmé impacted me as a learner because it made me realize that teaching is a lot harder then people think it is! I don't think people give teachers enough credit. They have to make sure that all students are at least somewhat in align with each other. Meaning that all the students are at the same grade level. If some students aren't as excelled as other students then the teacher will need to make sure that she pays a little bit more attention to those students to make sure that they get caught back up.

How will I apply Educating Esmé to my classroom?

I will apply Educating Esmé to my classroom by doing more creative things along with the work. I feel like the more projects, or activities that teachers do in the classroom the more students will actually want to learn the information. Some students might be visual learners like me, and they can't just look at a board and write down notes all day, they need a visual piece so that they understand what is being represented. This is something that I will be doing a lot in my classroom. Making sure that all the students, no matter how they learn, understand what I am trying to teach them.

Questions that I had

1. Why is music so important to Codell as she struggles throughout the day?

2. Why does one of Codell's students stab a substitute teacher with a pencil? What is Codell's response to this incident?

3. What is Codell's general attitude toward the educational bureaucracy?