Teacher Memoirs

shelved under Education

We’ve all been affected by teachers in our lives... now consider how they’ve been affected by us, their students. These memoirs provide a range of experiences in the classroom that are touching, humorous and enlightening.


My First Year as a Teacher

edited by Pearl Rock Kane

A diverse collection of teachers share their first experiences entering the classroom. While no two stories are alike, they all share the challenges of entering a new environment and learning to connect to students, fellow teachers and administrators.

This book also appears on Memoirs of The First Year of Teaching


Teach With Your Heart: Lessons I Learned from The Freedom Writers

by Erin Gruwell

Based on her years with the Freedom Writers, Erin Gruwell both tells a story and honors the students she worked with. This book goes beyond a teacher making a connection with students, to empowering them to change their lives.


Dangerous Minds: They Were Problem Kids With One Last Chance . . . Her

by LouAnne Johnson

Originally titled My Posse Don’t Do Homework, this autobiography of a marine turned teacher gets into the life of teachers and students in disadvantaged communities. It looks deeply into how to engage students in learning on their terms. LouAnne Johnson is a skilled writer who captures the details of life inside and outside the classroom.


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 Tales from Inside the Schoolhouse


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 Tales from Inside the Schoolhouse


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 Tales from Inside the Schoolhouse


Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year

by Esmé Raji Codell

Danielle Dadamo says:

This book is AMAZING! If you are a first year teacher, it is a must red. A lot of great ideas on how to survive your first classroom plus lots of antedotes to keep yourself sane after the end of a grueling workday. Enjoy!

This book also appears on Memoirs of The First Year of Teaching


Holler If You Hear Me: The Education of a Teacher and His Students

by Gregory Michie

Capturing the grit of inner-city schools, this book honestly portrays all that a new teacher needs to learn in order to effectively educate his students. It also addresses the choices a teacher must make in trying to follow the dictates from on high while meeting the needs of the students before him.


The Great Expectations School: A Rookie Year in the New Blackboard Jungle

by Dan Brown, foreword by Randi Weingarten

A novice teachers enters a 4th grade class in the Bronx, and faces probably the greatest challenge in his life. Yet he perseveres, and not only sheds light on the education system but his own growth as well.

This book also appears on Memoirs of The First Year of Teaching


Crossing the Water: Eighteen Months on an Island Working with Troubled Boys-a Teacher's Memoir

by Daniel Robb

A unique true story about working with troubled teenage boys at a school off the coast of Massachusetts. It’s a touching work about a community of strangers that comes together to meet a range of needs. If you thought working in a classroom was isolated, try teaching on a literal island.


The Water Is Wide: A Memoir

by Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy spent a year in 1969 teaching students who were literally cut off from their own country. A white man working with black children on an island off the coast of South Carolina, this true story addresses issues originally raised by Brown v. Board of Education. It also speaks to the relationship between teacher and students, and the community that evolves within a classroom.