Among School Children (Picador Books)
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 catast...more
In Among Schoolchildren he follows around Mrs. Zajack, who is a really good fifth-grade teacher in a really difficul ...more
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 ...more
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 cla ...more
This book, which chronicles a year in the life of a determined fifth grade teacher in a public school, left me desperately curious to find out what happened to the children in her classroom all these years later (especially Judith and Clarence) but Googling has so far not been helpful. I did find out tha ...more
"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 togethe ...more
I really liked this book. It covers one school year in
teacher Chris Zajac's class. It shows the challenges and trials
that school teachers in the 1990's up through today face.
After a brief and unsuccessful stint as a substitute teacher,
I have the utmost respect and admiration for teachers.
In Mrs. Zajac's classroom, as is the norm in our schools, the trouble makers get the most attention. She spends a lot of time trying to maintain discipline in the classroom in order to try to teach her stude ...more
I read this book for a college course in education, and the following is an essay I wrote to review it:
Tracy Kidder’s 1989 book, Among Schoolchildren, is a year-long case study in which Kidder describes day-to-day experiences in Mrs. Zajac’s 5th grade classroom. Kidder divides the book into nine sections, each of which contains around four to six chapters. The case study is organized chronologically, beginning with the section “September” and the start of the year, and ending with “June”. The ma ...more
Among Schoolchildren is a book about 5th grade teacher Chris Zajac and her class of students. It follows their adventures through the school year. Readers get the chance to be immersed inside the classroom and meet each of the children Chris instructs. They get the chance to sit in on how a classroom is run and what goes into ...more
I found this book at times funny, sad, and optimistic. It's an enjoyable account of a school year at an elementary school in Holyoke, Massachusetts in the late 1980s. A large portion of the book deal with the problem children in the classroom. I read this book for a class on behavior management for a master's of arts in teaching, but it's an interesting read for anyone interested in teaching, what goes on in a classroom, and children in general.
I found this book fascinating from a professional standpoint. I currently work in education in a district that is similar in the make up of the school discussed in this book with it's levels of poverty, migrants, and immigrants. From that point of view it was very interesting ...more
In the tradition of Mountains Beyond Mountains, Tracey Kidder takes the reader into an intimate world of which few people are aware or appreciate - this time a public school teacher in a working- class immigrant neighborhood. Dr. Kidder gives a very realistic portrait of a teacher in a poor, urban school - there are rewards, to be sure, but they come at the cost of the reality of long school days on the brink of burnout. Mrs. Zajac, the subject of the book is doing h ...more
Two thousand years ago Cicero advocated the use of descriptive language as a persuasive tool. He felt that an appeal to pathos was most effective when strong “attributes” were attached to an author’s or s ...more
I thought this book did well at balancing the personal stories of Chris and her class with the historical/factual details of Holyoke and public education in general. I enjoyed that the book was told more or less chronologically, but that it was also divided into topical sections. I didn' ...more
The author is a third-party (journalist) that observes a veteran teacher in Holyoke, Massachusetts over the course of an entire school year during the 1980s. Although Holyoke is smaller than many larger urban areas, the social and economic problems that are captured and described in this book totally resonate today. The social/racial issues that the author describes translate very well even today, ...more
Read in 1990
Tracy 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. ...more