Tales from Inside the Schoolhouse

shelved under Biography & Memoir and Education

We all spent time in classrooms as students, but few ever get to experience it from an adult’s perspective. Here are some great books about life in the classroom. Some you might relate to... others will have you shaking your head in disbelief. If you think kids are crazy, wait ‘til you meet the administrators. 


Among Schoolchildren

by Tracy Kidder

This is classic Kidder, taking an incredibly complicated topic like teaching, and painting an intimate portrait based on one teacher's experience. Not only do you get to see and feel what it's like to work with children in a classroom, you get to know what it feels like to be a teacher outside the school building.


Teacher Man: A Memoir

by Frank McCourt

Famous for "Angela's Ashes" and "'Tis", this memoir of Frank McCourt's career in teaching is just as moving. As someone who started teaching outside the box and remained happily ignorant of the "right way" to teach, McCourt's escapades speak to all of us who wish to make a difference in the lives of children.

This book also appears on Teacher Memoirs


Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America

by Donna Foote

The Teach For America program gets lots of attention in the media, but few know what it's like to graduate college and step right into the role of teacher in the classroom. This interesting book follows four Teach for America corps members through a year of their lives working in an inner-city high school. Not only do you get a feel for the people doing this important work, but it also illuminates the controversial organization that put them there.


Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream

by H.G. Bissinger

Sara says:

I'm not a football fan. I actually HATE football! So why do I love this book?! It was totally entertaining and moving, and gave me a perspective on small town life I really enjoyed — boy, those poor, pitiful, uneducated bozos actually make for an interesting story (at least as written here)!


Our School: The Inspiring Story of Two Teachers, One Big Idea, and the School That Beat the Odds

by Joanne Jacobs

Charter schools are often founded by young, idealist educators who know little about building and maintaining an organization from scratch. Yet that's what often leads them to success. Written by an experienced education journalist, this is a fascinating story of a mom & pop charter school.


There Are No Shortcuts

by Rafe Esquith

Rafe Esquith is famous for his do-whatever-it-takes approach to changing the lives of his students. With all of the depressing stories of public education, Esquith manages to find the humanity in teaching, and perhaps inspire us all to believe change is possible.


Up the Down Staircase

by Bel Kaufman

One isn't sure whether to laugh or cry after reading this book. Nearly 50 years later the education bureaucracies are still perpetrating some of the same crazy rules and regulations on teachers. Told with a wicked sense of humor, this book transcends time.

This book also appears on Teacher Memoirs


To Sir with Love

by E. R. Braithwaite

Set in 1940s London, this powerful book raises the same issues of race and poverty America has confronted in the classroom. Not only are the relationships between teacher and student moving, but among the adults as well.

This book also appears on Teacher Memoirs