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Dangerous Minds

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  750 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
She bullied, bluffed, and bribed her students into caring about school.

And if that didn't work, the pretty, petite ex-marine told them she'd been trained to kill with her bare hands.

They were called the class from Hell-thirty-four inner city sophomores she inherited from a teacher who'd been "pushed over the edge." She was told "those kids have tasted blood. They're danger
ebook, 278 pages
Published September 15th 1995 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1992)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,462)
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Jubilation Lee
I recognize that the author’s intention in writing this book was probably not to convince her readers to think to themselves, “Holy shit. I never, ever ever ever want to be a teacher. Ever. EVER.

Probably it was instead meant to be inspiring!

But I spent the entire time reflecting on how close some of my profs in college had been to talking me into the high school teaching profession, and how glad I am that they failed. Phew.

Anyway! This is like Up the Down Staircase meets PS Your Not Listening
Apr 16, 2010 Derek rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I decided to read this book after hearing an interview with Johnson on NPR’s This American Life. Johnson said her teaching experience wasn’t much like Michelle Pfeiffer’s teaching experience in Dangerous Minds, the movie inspired by Johnson’s book. She also said she returned, uncashed, the royalty check from the Dangerous Minds television show, a weekly drama inspired by the movie. Johnson didn’t want anything to do with it. And no wonder: The book is unlike the movie and the television show. In ...more
Brianna Kortesmaki
Personal Response:

I liked this book a lot. In some ways it was a comedy and in other ways it was serious. I also liked how it was a nonfictional book I don’t read a lot of those, but I liked this one.


The book “Dangerous Minds” was written by Louanne Johnson. She wrote it about her teaching experiences. Miss Johnson was a teacher for troubled students. She taught a lot of different kinds of kids. She taught kids who didn’t care about anything that had to do with school and kids that did
Jul 25, 2011 Patrice rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
This book is kind of a train wreck of sorts - but here's my review that I wrote for my M.A.T. program.

Miss Johnson is a newly hired teacher set with the task of working in a difficult inner city school. I remember going to the movie theatre in middle school and watching “Dangerous Minds” starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The book goes much more in depth into the curriculum, class room management style, and lives of children in Miss Johnson’s classes.
I have to say that I was disturbed by some of the
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 20, 2010 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching
I definitely enjoyed this book, but as I read I kept thinking "teachers can't do that now." Giving kids a ride home - definitely a no-no these days. Also interesting was the fact that she started off just teaching one class, later two, at most four. No mention of boyfriend or husband or friends outside of school - she was committed to those kids - reminds me of the old days when women were not allowed to teach after they got married. Still I enjoyed reading it.
Desiree Roe
Nov 13, 2012 Desiree Roe rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dangerous Minds is a book about a teacher on a mission to not only better her students’ grades but their lives as well. She pushes them to their limits and makes them realize their potential. Luanne Johnson captures your attention, and her students keep the surprises coming with each new chapter. I recommend this book to a high school level reader, anyone younger might find it difficult to read, because they haven’t experienced life at a high school.
Lydia Aswolf
Dec 23, 2013 Lydia Aswolf rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit I come from a family containing many teachers. I have five sons and thirty nieces and nephews. In other words, I have some small experience with kids, the school system, and teachers on and off campus, so to speak.

I have always admired the humble way teachers pass credit for learning success along to their students. I've never known a single teacher to take credit for themselves or their teaching methods; methods which are crucial in the success
Nov 04, 2010 Valeria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the book Dangerous Minds by Louanne Johnson, I saw a whole new perspective on how some teachers; view us students. The scene or story, takes place at a poor lonely low rated school. One word would describe that school, and it would be potential. Ms. Johnson recognized that, as soon as she spoke one word to the class. Several teachers experienced what she did, in a matter of seconds their one word, deadly. What could have made her stay there or was she just crazy?
If I would have as much pote
Ms. Johnson took a chance by becoming a teacher at a run down, inner city school in west Los Angeles. Almost all of her students were troubled and underpriveleged. "You're about to step into a room full of hormone-crazed teenagers and ask them to commit unnatural acts like sit down, shut up, and listen to someone too old to be taken seriously."

Throughout the course of the year, she began to change the way these students viewed school, and showed them the importance school will have on their futu
Inhoud: Het is een klas uit de hel:34 gettokinderen. Louanne Johnson, pas van de lerarenopleiding, krijgt ze onder haar hoede. Het zijn kansloze gevaarlijke leerlingen die bloed willen zien. Haar bloed, maar Louanne vecht terug. Ze is te jong om met pensioen te gaan en te gemeen om op te geven. Louanne heeft zo haar eigen ideeën en eigenlijk is ze helemaal niet zo gemeen. Achter de muur van onverschilligheid en verzet ziet zij intelligente jonge mensen met ieder een eigen droom. Louanne is vastb ...more
I actually liked this book and didn't find myself feeling aggravated and on the defense. Would I push as far as Johnson did to reach certain students? In this delicately balanced world of this pc and by the book culture I wouldn't feel safe. But I certainly agree with her beliefs about student potential and ability and I definitely appreciated her ability to tell the story in an engaging manner that kept me flipping pages.
Feb 12, 2015 Meg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I have never heard of this book! Written by the same woman who wrote Dangerous Minds, this book is one of the best accounts of teaching in an urban school that I've ever read. It rings true to me - I feel like I have taught with her. I would love to run into her and I wm sure we could talk for days straight...
Jan 21, 2009 Yofish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yofish by: from a movie?
Shelves: read-biography
Interesting, but probably would have been better as series of magazine articles, rather than a book. As is, it's sort of repetitive. She's an ex-marine who sets out to be a HS teacher (and her picture on the blurb looks nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer). Her students are difficult, and she has to break through their defenses to get them to try. Mostly deals with successes, and no real good feel of how frequent they are. She has some good stories, but a lot seem to be of the form: this student was ...more
Aug 25, 2008 Les rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
These kinds of books (teacher makes a difference in her school with energy and love and creativity) are so often written by young teachers. It takes endless cleverness and patience for them to make the difference they make. I wonder how these teachers end up after 20 years in the classroom? Do they become bitter, hardened, cynical teachers? Or do they keep their idealism and energy? In any case, this was a well-written book. Written in a series of vignettes instead of a timeline story, it shows ...more
Jun 10, 2015 Amalie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
A powerful story that gives an inside look to how one teacher can truly make an impact on students' lives and how unorthodox teaching methods can help students to discover themselves and to respect themselves.

Her story is inspiring and somewhat relatable. I have had my experience with few behaviorally-challenged students in my classes. It's not easy.
Mar 19, 2014 Patricia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
A very enjoyable and inspiring read that makes me wonder how these students turned out. I hope the author who is scheduled to speak at ourat our local college next will give us an update.
Apr 04, 2014 Nikole rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hilarious, great read for any teacher! Her dedication is inspiring!
Rhonda Rae Baker
Aug 08, 2010 Rhonda Rae Baker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great story...important to know these kinds of problems. It take a very special person to reach out to others that are having trouble and at the same there there are serious needs that can be helped. My eyes were opened with the characters in this novel...much better than the movie because of greater detail and the fact that I could read secions over, dog-ear the pages if you will. One Last Chance, maybe, but probably not but it is dangerous to play with fire. Much better to address the issues a ...more
Shannon Wyss
Oct 07, 2011 Shannon Wyss rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's hard not to like a book by a teacher who seems to be able to reach kids who are totally turned off to school. Teaching mostly at-risk but high-potential students of color in the East San Francisco Bay area, Johnson seems to have an incredible gift for teaching. Her book doesn't really deal with the structural/institutional reasons why her students have so many problems, which would have been helpful and added another layer to her story. But this is still an eminently readable and engrossing ...more
May 26, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Once I got into the book, I kept going and going. The shorter vignette style allowed for this, but I also wanted to see what she would do in her classroom next. I liked that she was unafraid to put her bad days/experiences as well as all of the good ones. Interested in seeing some of her work specifically for education, NOT interested in seeing the movie, as apparently it is different in too many ways from the book. (which doesn't usu. interest me in a movie)
Feb 04, 2015 Elena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four starts for no other reason but the fact that a teacher who cares and goes above and beyond for her students has all my respect. Obviously in the book I got to know the characters from the movie better.
I read this before I gained consciousness about race and privilege. Now I am aware of the "white woman teacher goes into the ghetto to save the poor brown people from themselves" cliche and how problematic it is. I would have to read it again to do a fair analysis, as I'm sure my interpretation would be different today, especially after having done Americorps.
Mrs. Schatz
Oct 31, 2011 Mrs. Schatz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this!!!! I am pretty sure I could not teach he kids b/c I don't have the street smarts and background she has. I admire her and have the utmost respect for her. I wish she could have made it longer but when you give huge chunks of your heart and life to others, you , personally, will burn out much quicker. Need more adults to do what she did.
dead letter office
interesting true story of an ex-marine teaching high school in the early 1990's in the district where i went to high school in the early 1990's. later republished under the title Dangerous Minds after michelle pfeiffer played the Louann Johnson role in the movie.
Jul 31, 2007 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: teachers at all levels
What a great book to give insights to the problems teachers and students face in America's unbelievably unequal and most-often embarrassingly unorganized educational system -- an especially useful tool for teachers from someone who's been in the trenches and is fighting like hell to survive the war so a future generation can make it! Inspiring stuff.
Aug 19, 2007 amie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Like a loser English teacher, i love books about English teachers. This was a really moving one. There are great scenes in the book and reminded me of the movie- and oh gosh, did i like that movie. i read it in a quick day and a half, probably. i got some good teaching ideas, too (yeah. lame). i would totally recommend this book to anyone with a soul.
Mar 09, 2011 Kimberly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
so far this book is a book that i can not put down. i really enjoy reading it and i would recomeded this to any body that is in high school but mostly to kids in 11th or higher because of some of the events and actions that characters do and act upon and even say. This ends out the way that nobody expects it to
Feb 17, 2008 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who want to see beauty in the muck
Shelves: justforfun
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 03, 2011 Jd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't do reviews much, since I'm not that good at them. I read this book twice before I returned it back to the library. I can honestly say this is one of the first books that has ever made me cry a little bit both times I read it. Boy hasn't teaching changed since then?!
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LouAnne Johnson is a former U.S. Navy journalist, Marine Corps officer, high school teacher, and the author of The New York Times bestseller Dangerous Minds (originally My Posse Don't Do Homework). In 1989, LouAnne began teaching reading and writing to non-English speakers as an intern at a high school in California. Since then LouAnne has taught English, adult basic education, developmental readi ...more
More about LouAnne Johnson...

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“Knowledge counts but common sense matters.” 13 likes
“I know you kids are angry, because the world isn't fair. Well, get over it, because it's never going to be fair. The white boys have all the money and all the power and that's the way it is. And they aren't going to give it up - to you or to me. And you can't blame them for it because if you had it, you wouldn't give it to them, either. But fighting each other isn't going to fix anything. All it's going to do is let everybody go on insisting that black and Hispanic kids are ignorant and violent. That's perfect. It's easy. If you're ignorant and violent, people who don't like you can kick you out of school or put you in jail. And it's you own fault.” 8 likes
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