This is the diary of Esme Raji Codell, a first-year teacher at a Chicago public school. Codell describes the frustrations - incompetent administrators, abusive parents, gang members and, at times, her own insecurities - she encountered when she began her teaching career in this inner-city school and the unique ways she approached them. As Codell puts it, she has "Thirty-one children. Thirty-one chances. Thirty-one futures, our futures. Everything they become, I also become." Her portrait of this struggling elementary school is funny, poignant, and inspiring. Her struggle to maintain individuality in the face of bureaucracy and her defiant stand against mediocrity reverberates in companies as well as classrooms everywhere.
You can also read Esme Raji Codell's first-hand account in her book, Educating Esme, and listen to Codell's recent interview with public radio host Todd Mundt.
©1999 Jay Allison