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Though this is about an elementary school teacher, there are a few strategies that are applicable to high school teachers as well.And now it s time for a rant.I m sure the author is a great teacher and his kids learn a lot from him.But and this is very important this is yet another book which describes a teacher as a saint, with sanctified kids, who sacrifices his entire life for his students.I m not saying it s a bad thing, and certainly Rafe Esquith seems to have done something right in his Though this is about an elementary school teacher, there are a few strategies that are applicable to high school teachers as well.And now it s time for a rant.I m sure the author is a great teacher and his kids learn a lot from him.But and this is very important this is yet another book which describes a teacher as a saint, with sanctified kids, who sacrifices his entire life for his students.I m not saying it s a bad thing, and certainly Rafe Esquith seems to have done something right in his school However, I resent the implication one so often used in both books and movies about inspirational teachers that a teacher s life begins and ends in his classroom How about a little moderation Sure, I can be devoted to my students and teach them to the best of my ability and inspire them to be all they can be But I shouldn t be made to feel guilty because I want to have a personal life too.In addition, I don t actually live in a community in which every student is invested in his education This is yet another book in which the kids JUST CAN T WAIT for school to start, and they get there early and stay late and work beyond their grade level and blahblahblah That is not a brand of student I am familiar with Where are MY industrious little bunnies who want to read Shakespeare or write ten page essays or diagram sentences JUST BECAUSE I could be the best teacher in the world, too, if I didn t have to spend half my class time waking kids up or telling them to pick up their social lives after class or repeating the page number of the book 547 times.I guess what I m saying is this is a book for pre teachers and college professors who ve never been in a real classroom Teachers in the trenches will read this and question its practical application This was pretty much a There Are No Shortcuts Part IIwhich I certainly welcomed, and Esquith goes intodetail about his unique and exhausting teaching methods My only hesitation after reading the two books and watching The Hobart Shakespeareans is that he, at times, makes petty comments about his colleagues who fail where he succeeds He seems to want to give his students this I m the only person who will care about you mentality Maybe it s just me I m often prone to conspiracy theo This was pretty much a There Are No Shortcuts Part IIwhich I certainly welcomed, and Esquith goes intodetail about his unique and exhausting teaching methods My only hesitation after reading the two books and watching The Hobart Shakespeareans is that he, at times, makes petty comments about his colleagues who fail where he succeeds He seems to want to give his students this I m the only person who will care about you mentality Maybe it s just me I m often prone to conspiracy theory interpretations I can see where this may come from, but it seems like he could be a bitdiplomatic, rise above it a little better than the people he appears to put down Looking past this, Esquith s efforts nevertheless prove as an example of how creative the classroom can be if we, as teachers, are willing to take it there You know those students who, when studying, highlight nearly every sentence in the textbook Well, that s how I was with Rafe Esquith s outstanding teaching book I set out to flag the pages containing suggestions I found particularly helpful and quickly ended up abandoning that idea when I realized I would do far better flagging the pages that weren t pertinent Especially of interest to me was his method of discipline, the area I find most difficult The discipline methods I have researched ru You know those students who, when studying, highlight nearly every sentence in the textbook Well, that s how I was with Rafe Esquith s outstanding teaching book I set out to flag the pages containing suggestions I found particularly helpful and quickly ended up abandoning that idea when I realized I would do far better flagging the pages that weren t pertinent Especially of interest to me was his method of discipline, the area I find most difficult The discipline methods I have researched run the gamut from Don t let them see you smile until December, to token economies to the touchy feely Let s draft up a classroom constitution together None of these has ever struck me as fitting my style or philosophy of teaching Esquith instructs his students by employing Kohlberg s six stages of moral development Eureka Finally, something I can imagine myself using and, over, something that actually might work Esquith is truly remarkable His students learn not only the basics but art, drama, music, sports, and community service to boot Every year he takes the class on several trips to places such as Washington D.C., the Ashland Shakespearean Festival, and Disneyland All year long they delve into one of Shakespeare s plays culminating in a music and dance filled performance each April Esquith is certainly a commendable teacher though I am not quite selfless enough to open my classroom doors at 6 30 a.m., stay until after 5 00 at night, and forgo my lunch periods and weekends I do not know how this man manages to have a family Unlike most teachers who have published novels i.e Ron Clark, Esme Raji Codell, LouAnne Johnson, etc Esquith has not abandoned his students for the speaking circuit He remains in the classroom, in a very unglamorous crime and poverty stricken area of Los Angeles I see Rafe has a new book out Reading this one years ago was enough for me, thank you Wildly unrealistic and self promotional Actually, non teachers might LOVE this book The guy cares, he really does But if you re in the trenches reading his neatly titled book, you re left thinking something like this my review when I first read it Rafe Esquith s Teach Like Your Hair s on Fire is aimed at teachers and parents, but the parent part is mostly lip service this is mainly a book for teachers I see Rafe has a new book out Reading this one years ago was enough for me, thank you Wildly unrealistic and self promotional Actually, non teachers might LOVE this book The guy cares, he really does But if you re in the trenches reading his neatly titled book, you re left thinking something like this my review when I first read it Rafe Esquith s Teach Like Your Hair s on Fire is aimed at teachers and parents, but the parent part is mostly lip service this is mainly a book for teachers If you re interested in this teacher of the year s methods, this book may be worth a look It is less so if you teach a particular subject, as the book is better suited to elementary teachers who are generalists and teach English, math, social studies, science, art, music, and gym to name a few because he devotes an entire chapter to each High school and middle school teachers will find less of interest here.OK, so what is it you re looking for from a book like this If you rein it for Rafe s STORY and for what goes on in his classroom, have a ball If you rein it for selfish reasons that is, methods you might emulate yourself in the classroom, proceed with care There s no denying the book contains some useful advice and methods, but it also devotes much attention to matters beyond the realm and finances of most teachers full play productions of Shakespeare, field trips that involve airplane flights not buses cross country, film festivals and book clubs held after school or at 6 30 in the morning Clearly this is a devoted man and, by comparison, some teachers may feel depressed by all he pulls off while still maintaining a life of his own if he has one outside of the classroom.Highlights for me were the Six Levels in which Rafe explains wrong reasons and right reasons that kids obey their teachers , the well thought out attack on standardized testing the bane of any school , and the overall iconoclastic tone Also, a few of his ideas were illuminating True, there were not a lot of practical ideas for the classroom, but there were some and some are bound to be of use for teacher readers.If I taught elementary grades, I d invest in this book and add it to my professional library go ahead, set the bar high for yourself If I taught junior or high school or were simply a parent interested in education , I d check it out at the library and pick the chapters that best suited my interests.In any case, the bottom line is this we should all be grateful for teachers like Rafe Esquith, but most teachers have no hope of emulating his methods because they lack the time, the finances, or the leeway Teacher books are either, how to books that include lesson plans, methods, etc or inspirational books about how a teacher succeeded in tough situations This is a combination of both I feel On the positive, it is not as dry as most methods books, and not as sappy as most inspirational books The problem though is because it is a hybrid, I feel it doesn t cover nearly enough of either section I love many of his concepts though, and to take this as a book that gives you a better idea of how t Teacher books are either, how to books that include lesson plans, methods, etc or inspirational books about how a teacher succeeded in tough situations This is a combination of both I feel On the positive, it is not as dry as most methods books, and not as sappy as most inspirational books The problem though is because it is a hybrid, I feel it doesn t cover nearly enough of either section I love many of his concepts though, and to take this as a book that gives you a better idea of how to approach your class i.e fear is NOT your friend, excellent point instead of a straight how to, then this is a great read It is also quick, you can devour it in a day Rafe Esquith is obviously a wonderful teacher He teaches his 10 11 year olds ALL subjects kind of like how primary school teachers do it in Singapore , including Physical Education, Art, Science, and even Shakespeare a subject unto himself While preparing them for standardised tests, he avoids teaching to the test too much by integrating lesson objectives in an inter disciplinary manner, and gets students to be exam smart by anticipating which options would be set as distractors on multip Rafe Esquith is obviously a wonderful teacher He teaches his 10 11 year olds ALL subjects kind of like how primary school teachers do it in Singapore , including Physical Education, Art, Science, and even Shakespeare a subject unto himself While preparing them for standardised tests, he avoids teaching to the test too much by integrating lesson objectives in an inter disciplinary manner, and gets students to be exam smart by anticipating which options would be set as distractors on multiple choice questions He teaches his students to go up the scale of moral development by emphasising good manners, and keeping them to high standards all the time He is dedicated, even going to the extent of forking out his own money for supplies and events.Yet, something about him kind of feels wrong I don t know if it s because the U.S school system is so messed up, but he distrusts school administration administrators and even his colleagues so much that he strikes me as a pretty arrogant lone ranger martyr type E.g he says he asks students parents for donations, but stresses that this must be kept ABSOLUTELY secret because otherwise, the evil people up there would shut this practice down These things also seem unforgivable to me 1 Once, his colleague wrote him a nasty note He took it to class and had the students dissect the grammar construction of that note.2 He puts down a teacher in his school he dubs Miss Popular by transcribing a long conversation between him and Miss P s student, who doesn t seem to have absorbed what Miss P has taught.What on earth Surely an advocate of ethical behaviour and humility should practise what he preaches and focus on the positive learning points he wants to impart to enthusiastic teachers, not put down others to make himself seem better.Also, where is the mention of Esquith scaling up his wonderful methods toclasses in his school, or even the whole school, so that MORE children can benefit The title of the book is telling Room 56 has no doubt had a significant impact on hundreds, if not thousands of students But has Esquith styled himself so much as a doorkeeper guardian , building up a siege mentality in this room, so much that the keys to his success remain firmly in his hand Yes, he has written a book, but direct mentorship of other teachers, collaboration with colleagues and the contribution to the fostering of a positive culture in school should come first Indeed, Esquith described staff meetings as being worse than thumbscrews and the rack not once but twice in his book What kind of message would that send to educators who are trying to work together to benefit students Not to mention the message this would send to students who would grow up to go through some painful but necessary procedures in their workplace is he trying to cultivate some holier than thou attitude I still gave this three stars because Esquith s methods are useful, and he offers a wide range of them across a variety of disciplines though they are reallysuited for elementary school teachers than those who teach high school I give him props for his passion and commitment But I don t appreciate being told that I should put down other teachers constantly to figure out what not to do in the classroom Another concern I have with the level of dedication he advocates is, it will cause a teacher to burn out really quickly I agree that we must be willing to give our students time, but it must be high quality time, and leave room for the teacher to reflect on how to teach better I don t like this I come in earlier than anyone and leave later than anyone, so I am great attitude I don t think just putting in A LOT of time going through work with students is so straightforward or direct a way of assisting them In fact, it may create over dependency But maybe I am speaking from the perspective of someone who comes from a hyper competitive Asian society if American students demonstrate willingness to come in earlier and leave later, that may be rarer and deserve encouragement This is an incredibly inspiring book for parents and teachers who want to bring out the best in their charges I have to admit that my awe is tinged with just a bit of cynicism however In twenty odd years times 30 kids of teaching, Rafe has never had a discipline problem The implication is that someone who does have discipline problems is doing something wrong orprecisely isn t doing something right That may be true in most cases but unless Rafe is Midas is a gravel pit, there This is an incredibly inspiring book for parents and teachers who want to bring out the best in their charges I have to admit that my awe is tinged with just a bit of cynicism however In twenty odd years times 30 kids of teaching, Rafe has never had a discipline problem The implication is that someone who does have discipline problems is doing something wrong orprecisely isn t doing something right That may be true in most cases but unless Rafe is Midas is a gravel pit, there have to be some kids who don t respond perfectly to even his admittedly top notch teaching style Also, I d like to know how many hours are in Rafe s not to mention his students day He begins teaching an hour and a half before school starts and ends when the sun goes down and that s not when he s taking them to DisneyLand, New York, Chicago, or Oregon His students practice music, poetry, and baseball in their free time He is awe inspiring but I guess I d like a peek at the mechanics of how he fits it all in But read it yourself and decide It s DEFINITELY worth reading and thinking about 2.5 stars This book was really inspiringfor 3 4 of the book But as Esquith continues to describe all of the areas in which his students excel and all of the things he does to help them, it started to sound much too good to be true How can one man help his students to excel in so many areas how does he have the time and energy and money to do it all He arrives early to teach problem solving lessons teaches math, reading, science, art, music, physical education, and history pretty much ev 2.5 stars This book was really inspiringfor 3 4 of the book But as Esquith continues to describe all of the areas in which his students excel and all of the things he does to help them, it started to sound much too good to be true How can one man help his students to excel in so many areas how does he have the time and energy and money to do it all He arrives early to teach problem solving lessons teaches math, reading, science, art, music, physical education, and history pretty much every day leads the students in year long preparation to put on a work of Shakespeare helps 10 year old students learn to read music, play a variety of instruments, and sound like professional musicians stays after school to provide extra help leads a film club during lunch takes groups of students on trips all around the country sets up community service projects during Christmas and teaches special lessons on holidays I m not saying I think he s a fraud, but I can t help but be a little incredulous as to how this is all possible {Download} Õ Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire: The Methods and Madness Inside Room 56 Í Read Rafe Esquith s posts on the Penguin Blog From one of America s most celebrated educators, an inspiring guide to transforming every child s education In a Los Angeles neighborhood plagued by guns, gangs, and drugs, there is an exceptional classroom known as RoomThe fifth graders inside are first generation immigrants who live in poverty and speak English as a second language They also play Vivaldi, perform Shakespeare, score in the toppercent on standardized tests, and go on to attend Ivy League universities Rafe Esquith is the teacher responsible for these accomplishments From the man whom The New York Times calls a genius and a saint comes a revelatory program for educating today s youth In Teach Like Your Hair s on Fire , Rafe Esquith reveals the techniques that have made him one of the most acclaimed educators of our time The two mottoes in Esquith s classroom are Be Nice, Work Hard, and There Are No Shortcuts His students voluntarily come to school at in the morning and work until in the afternoon They learn to handle money responsibly, tackle algebra, and travel the country to study history They pair Hamlet with rock and roll, and read the American classics Teach Like Your Hair s on Fireis a brilliant and inspiring road map for parents, teachers, and anyone who cares about the future success of our nation s children Man I wish we all had the monetary means to be as awesome a teacher as this guy is Didn t anyone else find that this book was totally unreasonable, especially for Catholic school teachers I barely make enough money to pay my mortgage and bills, so if I took on 4 extra jobs, it would not be to take my whole class across the country It would be to pay off my car note or my credit card, or to go back to school to finish my master s, or to start a family.I feel like this book was written to make Man I wish we all had the monetary means to be as awesome a teacher as this guy is Didn t anyone else find that this book was totally unreasonable, especially for Catholic school teachers I barely make enough money to pay my mortgage and bills, so if I took on 4 extra jobs, it would not be to take my whole class across the country It would be to pay off my car note or my credit card, or to go back to school to finish my master s, or to start a family.I feel like this book was written to make me feel like an inadequate teacher Nyah nyah, I buy my kids stuff and go in earlier and give give give of myself physically, monetarily, emotionallyDidn t anyone catch that he has a wife and at least one kid He doesn t address how he fits them into his 12 hour work days Yeah, it s good to help the less fortunatebut what about the ones you re possibly neglecting at home I had to stay at school for that long yesterday, because I had morning duty, a full day of classes including a spirit points kick off assembly, a committee on which I serve and helped form, and to which I give tons of time , conduct play rehearsals, and have parent teacher conferences after the rehearsals, and I have a husband but no children I felt as though I neglected him, which was not fair, and that was only one night.Also, as a high school teacher, I have either 50 minutes or 90 minutes each day to attempt anything with learning different children Plan a lesson that takes 1 class in a regular classroom setting, and it will take them 3 days to finish the first part All of his wonderful things funded by his own money , can t really translate into my classroom God I wish it could But his things that take 6 weeks to do would take an entire semester with my students I m not complainingjust adding to why I didn t care for this book I love my kids, my job, and the extra time I put in including setting up fundraisers to help students pay for their trips either across the country or around the world, as opposed to working extra jobs to buy supplies.I guess this book was his application for canonization Hail Rafe, full of grace