[Ebook] ➡ Among Schoolchildren Author Tracy Kidder – Motyourdrive.co.uk


Among Schoolchildren quotes Among Schoolchildren, litcharts Among Schoolchildren, symbolism Among Schoolchildren, summary shmoop Among Schoolchildren, Among Schoolchildren ed3b0cda 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 Sharings 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


10 thoughts on “Among Schoolchildren

  1. says:

    This book was recommended to me by a co worker Tracy Kidder is a Pulitzer prize winning author for Soul of a New Machine with a unique style He basically picks someone interesting, and follows them around for a year or so and records everything they do He combines that with a lot of research and interviews and then still manages to write a book that reads almost like a novel.In Among Schoolchildren he follows around Mrs Zajack, who is a really good fifth grade teacher in a really difficult school It is fascinating to looks in on her classroom for a year and witness how a truly good teacher teaches.In one sense, it s a very encouraging book Mrs Zajack is everything you hope your child s teacher will be she works hard, cares deeply about each child, treats every child fairly, gives a lot of individual attention, manages the children s behavior well, and all of that But it also demonstrates clearly that even a great teacher can only do so much, and that the most important factor in determining a child s success or failure is almost without exception their home life That s an important almost, though, and at the end of the year even one of the students with the most problems shows some encouraging signs of progress.Having just married an educator, I think this book will be valuable as I try to understand my wife s work.Now if I could just remember to return this book to the library I probably owe 5 on it already.


  2. says:

    Tracy Kidder is a very good writer, so I decided to go back and read some of his older stuff that I had missed I loved The Soul of a New Machine, particularly because at the time it came out I was working as a programmer on among other things a Data General MV6000 This, of course, was back in the deeps of time when computers were quaint steampunkish things with valves snapping and relays clicking I remember the thing had less than a meg of memory, for instance We ran a whole insurance company off that thing, too Crazy We loved it, though, for its CPM like operating system, command line interface called, if I remember correctly CLI It was leaps and bounds fun to use than the other computer we had, an IBM mainframe type that you had to write JCL for, and run jobs in batch mode So reading a book about how the DG was designed was really awesome Kidder has a talent for making things that might seem boring to those who aren t doing them extremely interesting He puts you in the place of the actual designers, so you feel just as involved in the project as they are.So, too, for this book, which puts us in the place of a very good 5th grade teacher, and makes us feel her love for all her kids, and her aspirations for them, her earnest efforts to get them to care about the things they re learning, about their academic futures, and their lives The book made me realize, for the first time really, how important academic success is to the whole of a kid s future life, and how unfair things are, how life is rigged The crucial scene comes near the end, during the science fair I remember thinking how unfair science projects were when I was in 4th or 5th grade myself I remember watching a classmate s self made C earning anemometer spinning in an idle breeze from the window none of our schools were air conditioned then while my A earning one made by my father required gale force winds to even turn I remember I started working on it myself in our workshop when my dad asked what I was doing I told him and asked his advice, since I was very unsure how to handle the rotating joint Dad wasn t one to tell, he d rather show, and so I watched him make the thing with a nice bearing at the pivot point He did a great job and it looked fantastic, all neat and beautiful, when he was done He totally deserved that A But the bearing was a bit too tight for the application, and the dixie cups he used were only barely tapered from the opening to the flat bottom My classmate had the conical ones that worked better I remember thinking back then how unfair grades were His actually worked But until I read about Mrs Zajak s 5th graders science fair, it didn t hit me how indicative that is of how unfair life is altogether Because I had parents who cared about education, who took time with us, read to us, had books everywhere, took us to the library every Sunday, helped us with homework, and yes, built our science projects for us, because of that my sibs and I had an unfair advantage not just in grade school but throughout our lives My engineering job pays decently but importantly gives me something I love to work at, something that allows me scope for creativity, design, and building things I m so lucky to have that opportunity, and also to make enough money to have a nice home and good food, medical care, clothing, transportation, books, music, art, and computers Being born here in the US gives me a way of life that s far healthier and richer in a million ways that most of humanity, a substantial portion of whom have no medical care at all, filthy water to drink, poor nutrition and sanitation, and inadequate shelter from the elements Even here in this country a lot of kids have parents who are addicts, who abuse or neglect them, who don t give them the kind of enriched environment we grew up in Why is life so rigged How can we as a species give all kids those advantages Why haven t we figured that out and done it yet We really are all the same as kids, and we all do deserve better Shouldn t the point of having a civilization be just that Offering to all the opportunities that now fall only to a few Shouldn t all kids grow up into a world that s rigged in their favor like mine was That s the important realization that this book brought home to me Our kids deserve The science project with the broken light bulb that a kid worked on himself, the one that is full of bent nails and doesn t even light, that s a symbol for me of how hard some people have to work to get so much less than I ve always managed by hardly trying It s heartbreaking.


  3. says:

    I was given this book by a teacher that I worked with who told me that it was great Newly retired, I put it on my bookshelf to read at a future date I took it out the other day because I have had it for a while and I wanted to read it so that I could return it to her I am glad that I did Having been in education for over 30 years which included the time period when this book was written I found that I could easily identify with the teacher and her thoughts and feelings as described by Kidder Kidder observed this class for a year and also spoke with others who both knew Chris Zajac or were involved in education He also had done research I could easily see myself doing similar things in a classroom Wondering about home lives, critiquing lessons that you had done and ways they could be improved, rejoicing over some break throughs with students, encouraging children, making children feel that they are worth something and can learn etc It is always rough when you realize that there are just some things that you can t control in a child s life but that you wish you could make better I read some of the reviews of others and as always am discouraged when I read those which talk about how education has failed miserably I saw teachers every day who worked so hard to make a difference in children s lives Granted, we didn t have the power to overcome poverty or provide parents who were loving and caring or make some students at least attempt to learn the material we were teaching but we didn t give up and we did make a large difference for some of those kids whose lives we have touched I challenge anyone to go into a classroom and attempt to do what teachers do each and every day One other item really struck me In the book Kidder told a little about the history of public education He listed a quote from Kohl which he had written at the end of his second year teaching in Harlem The thought of twenty five children the next year, twenty five that might have a good year yet ultimately benefit little or nothing from it, depressed me I wanted to think and to write, to discover how I could best serve the children I guess he didn t believe that one person could make a difference in a child s life and that next year s teacher might continue the child down that road Thank God not everyone feels that way and leaves the classroom Kohl also wrote that during his second year he received discouraging news about students from his first class He began to feel that other teachers and omnipresent racism had started to undo whatever good he d done But weren t there other good teachers that came after him perhaps that could have an equally good effect on students And isn t one great year better than none if it can cause a child to look at himself differently perhaps as someone capable of learning Thank you to all the good teachers in the classroom now and in the past, who have made a difference Always keep in mind the students who you have effected in a positive way, always reflect on what you do in your classroom both your lessons and how you teach children to treat one another, and don t become discouraged You are important in the lives of your students


  4. says:

    Oookay I wanted to like this because it s about a teacher, but I couldn t Apparently it s a true story about a year in the life of a fifth grade teacher, Christine Zajac, but it s written by Tracy Kidder in a third person limited voice This immediately made me want to know what Kidder s methodology was, but he doesn t enlighten us anywhere in the book He s somewhat bizarrely, I think totally absent from the book This was probably intended to avoid readers distraction at wondering how his presence impacted the events in the book But it just left me questioning how Kidder got his information Did he take poetic license when describing Zajac s thoughts, or did he interview her constantly Did he sit in on classes doubtless altering the landscape of the classroom, since kids have a hard time not reacting to extra adults in the room , or did he watch videotapes of Zajac s instruction Did he interview kids I wish he d at least included this information in an appendix Without it, the story felt like it should have been a novel, not a work of nonfiction But on to the story itself It follows Zajac from the first day of school with her new class all the way to the last day in June We meet Clarence, a problem child who eventually gets sent away to a special school for kids with behavioral problems and whose memory haunts Zajac, who wanted to do with him We learn about the challenges in Zajac s school, where many students speak English as a second language, perform well below grade level, or live in dangerous areas, and where some teachers have just given up And we see her do amazing things like simultaneously teach a lesson with her mouth, watch for comprehension with her eyes, correct a paper with her right hand, and stop a behavior problem by snapping the fingers on her left hand Passages like that made me feel like I was in on Zajac s world.And Zajac is a good teacher she pushes her students hard, thinks about whether they re actually learning and makes changes to ensure it, earns their respect by being tough, and forms relationships with them because she cares about who they are as people, not just receptacles for knowledge And she can be pretty funny But she also has some really irritating habits She refers to herself in the third person One thing Mrs Zajac expects from each of you is that you do your best Sometimes she also refers to students by their names while talking to them, like Clarence is very smart, when talking to Clarence She s also bear hugging students a lot, which seems like playing with fire, but maybe it s acceptable for teachers of younger students like hers than it is for middle and high school teachers Overall, this was an okay account of what it s like to be a teacher what thoughts preoccupy you in the middle of the night Did Jimmy write his essay , what feels like victory He got a 79 , what it s like to have two personas every day Mrs Zajac at school and Chris at home But it didn t inspire me, didn t make me want to run out and teach some kids, didn t enlighten me I think it would be impactful for someone who doesn t teach For me, it felt kind of bland Zajac is a teacher She goes to school every day and teaches She thinks about kids She s been doing it a long time Next year, she ll do it again.I probably won t read it again.


  5. says:

    Among Schoolchildren, by Tracy KidderRead in 1990Tracy Kidder received permission to sit in Mrs Zajac s 5th grade class at Kelly school in Holyoke, CO where she grew up to become a teacher for a whole school year We are introduced to all her pupils, their backgrounds, their personalities, pleasures, pain and problems One child in particular becomes not only Mrs Zajac s cross to bear , but the one she simply refuses to give up on All the children become family and dear to the reader It is a very sad day for the reader, author and teacher when Clarence is sent ot another school one wonders what became of him Tracy gave us yet another well paced, well written book good insights into terrible teaching conditions nationally at that time Have teaching conditions changed for the better or worse Maybe someday he will revisit this theme.


  6. says:

    I this read years ago in college and it absolutely rocked my world Sadly, I immediately turned around and lent my copy to someone else, who then moved out of the state, and I haven t seen my or any other copy since I hope he enjoyed it It really is a terrific presentation of the struggles and joys of the classroom Right now I am volunteering as an English teacher in South America, and this book keeps coming to mind every so often find myself wondering How would Mrs Zajac handle this Even if you don t plan to be a teacher, read it You can t help but gain a deep respect and sympathy for the heroes who give their free time, their energy, their heart to YOUR children Read this book, then go hug a teacher.


  7. says:

    Immersion reporting is my favorite, and Among Schoolchildren is the immersion reportage bible Kidder lingers in the back of a fifth grade classroom for one year with a pencil and a notebook, long enough for the children to forget about his presence and start acting real Not only is it a gem of immersion writing, but it also validates teachers of all grade levels throughout America as we often forget how important our job is Kidder shows us that we may not be able to reach every kid in the classroom but the tiny differences we make can and do change the world Intriguing, thought provoking, humurous and meaningful.


  8. says:

    Good teachers put snags in the river of children passing by, and over the years, they redirect hundreds of lives Many people find it easy to imagine unseen webs of malevolent conspiracy in the world, and they are not always wrong But there is also an innocence that conspires to hold humanity together, and it is made of people who can never fully know the good that they have done This quote pretty much summarizes the book for me It made me want to go thank every teacher in my life for their dedication, creativity, and patience I fell in love with the students and their problems tugged at my heart The book reads like a documentary, but really works well in that format Kidder is a great nonfiction writer.


  9. says:

    I read this book because it is about a teacher in Holyoke MA, where I grew up But as a teacher myself, it was very interesting.


  10. says:

    I am an elementary teacher, and this could have been my story as well If you want a glimpse into the life of a teacher, read this Kidder s writing is easy and straightforward Wish that all parents and critics of this profession would read this.


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