I'm not a teacher but loved this book. Kidder observes a 5th grade inner-city classroom during the school year. Also delves into the teacher's and student's personal lives. I read this book about 4 times and love it every time.
It's a realistic view of teaching in an inner-city, low income school. I felt as though the author were writing about my classroom, at times. Insight into what teachers deal with on a daily basis, which is non-academic.
I love Tracy Kidder's way of sharing a subject. With this book, much like his "House," he enters into the setting so thoroughly that he apparently becomes a piece of the furniture, or at least a piece of artwork on longterm loan. He helps the reader understand the reality of teaching a diverse classroom in a ramshackled part of an industrial town that is not aging well. We get the highs and the lows as Kidder shadows veteran teacher Kris Zajak and her class of 5th graders. I don't think my explanation does Kidders work justice - daily life made as interesting as a novel. I highly recommend.
We hear so much about the declining quality of education in America. Well, this is a story about the opposite viewpoint. Here is a young teacher, teaching in the depressed "flats" of Holyoke, Massachusets. She shares their joys, catastrophes and their small but significant triumphs. Makes one appreciate those teachers who really do care about the kids..... A wonderful story. You'll love it!
From Publishers Weekly
" Christine Zajac teaches fifth grade in a racially mixed school in a poor district of Holyoke, Mass. . . . Through Kidder's calmly detailed re-creation of Zajac's daily round we come to know her students' fears and inmost strivings; we also share this teacher's frustrations, loneliness and the rush of satisfaction that comes with helping students learn," wrote PW. "A compelling microcosm of what is wrong--and right--with our educational system."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Tracy Kidder -- The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Soul of a New Machine" and the extraordinary national bestseller "House" -- spent nine months in Mrs. Zajac's fifth-grade classroom in the depressed "Flats" of Holyoke, Massachusetts. For an entire year he lived among twenty schoolchildren and their indomitable, compassionate teacher -- sharing their joys, their catastrophes, and their small but essential triumphs. As a result, he has written a revealing, remarkably poignant account of education in America...and his most memorable, emotionally charged, and important book to date.