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Fires in the Middle School Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from Middle Schoolers

3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  196 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Following on the heels of the bestselling Fires in the Bathroom, which brought the insights of high school students to teachers and parents, Kathleen Cushman now turns her attention to the crucial and challenging middle grades, joining forces with adolescent psychologist Laura Rogers.

As teachers, counselors, and parents cope with the roller coaster of early adolescence, to
Paperback, 240 pages
Published August 4th 2009 by The New Press (first published April 1st 2008)
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Julie Suzanne
Mar 13, 2009 Julie Suzanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
The author interviewed some middle school students. Their responses throughout the book are supported by Cushman's commentary aiming to help teachers understand the developmental needs of middle school kids. Everything in this book was obvious if you've ever taught youths in this age group. I mean, how could I not know that middle-schoolers change their opinions every other minute? Was it really an amazing find that tweens are pressured by their peers, want class to be more fun, and experiment w ...more
Mar 12, 2017 Dana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: counseling
I work with middle school kiddos and was hoping to get some new perspectives into their needs and wants. My time in middle school was hardly easy, and part of that memory is what makes me so passionate about helping and working with them now. This book did have some of those perspectives I was seeking, and some helpful ideas for teachers, but little of that was applicable to my situation. There is plenty of good advice in here, especially for teachers who are just starting to work with middle sc ...more
Jan 28, 2014 Cody rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teachin, non-fiction
While I did appreciate the overall message of this text, I can't help but feel it was incomplete. Allowing authentic voices to be expressed is one thing, but after so many complaints, the messages became diluted. They beat you over the head with just how complex and contradictory middle school students are. That alone makes the reading process uneasy, but after a certain point I became disgruntled when problems would be brought up and discussed ad nauseam with one or two wrap up sentences used t ...more
Mar 01, 2009 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: middle school teachers
Interesting and relevant but not necessarily anything new. I felt like I already knew a lot of this stuff just from working with middle school kids. They love to talk and I have heard most of this stuff from my own sixth graders. Plus, I've participated in a lot of discussions about middle grade psychology with teachers at my school and in my grad classes. So, really, I didn't find anything in this book to be more honest or insightful than what I already knew from personal experience.

I think it
John Williams
Most important about this book is the mere fact that it exists, what it sets out to do. The student testimonials are great, but this book serves to remind pre-service teachers and even current teachers that we must always start with the student perspective. Where are they coming from? What are they thinking? Who is it that you are about to teach and what can you do to help them want to learn? The book is not terribly prescriptive. In some cases that is impossible because student testimonials oft ...more
Aug 01, 2009 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-helps
This book wasn't as enlightening as the first. I can attribute that to two things off the top of my head: when I read the first one I was just about to start student teaching (as opposed to the years of experience I have under my belt when reading this one) and middle school children don't seem to give nearly as good advice. I accredit the later to their ever changing thoughts and opinions and their inability to really understand what their teachers' goals are, both for the teacher and the pupil ...more
Another great resource for teachers....I didn't plan on teaching middle school, but the school I was hired at has grades 6-12. This book reminds teachers to really remember what it was like to be in middle school, which is important. I love the title, and the first month of school, there actually was a fire in the boys' bathroom at my school!
Sep 10, 2015 Adelaide rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
ED103. I found this book not so surprising. Middle schoolers want teachers to be lenient but not too lenient, authoritative but not too authoritative, friendly but not too friendly. Excellent. I think the most helpful part of reading the book was trying to remember what it felt like to be in middle school and think about how I can design classroom experiences with that in mind.
Apr 20, 2010 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is intended for Middle School teachers, but is great for anyone who works with urban middle school-aged teens. It explains, often with quotes directly from urban youth, exactly what these teens are thinking and going through. They describe what they feel they need in an educator, from their parents, and from authority figures in general.
Anthony Purcell
Jul 06, 2012 Anthony Purcell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book. I feel every middle school teacher should read this! Understanding the thoughts and feelings of students is very important at this age. I remember being confused and scared but ready to take on the world. I encourage everyone to read this!

"Teachers don't know what the kids are thinking, they only make a guess." - Jessica, 7th grader
Jan 31, 2011 Kim rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teacher-books
Kathleen Cushman spends her time asking tweens and teens questions the rest of us SHOULD make time for. In this book, the voices of middle schoolers unselfconsciously recall us to the impact we have on their day-to-day lives, self-concepts, and levels of engagement. A great book for teachers and preservice teachers about what students need and want in their school lives.
There are better books out there and I actually had two students who were featured in this book. By legitimizing their comments without really knowing them as students and how they were in the classroom was disheartening. There were other students who were just as needy, behaviorally and academically, but those students made better choices and rose to the occasion.
Mar 14, 2012 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book for those that teach or want to teach middle school. I felt like the last chapter for the most part didn't apply. It was more about after they transition to high school. It was a relatively short book, if it wasn't for the last chapter I would have given it 5 stars.
Dec 24, 2009 Lindsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, nonfiction
Advice for teachers from middle schoolers had some interesting points and some text like informative surveys but overall many points were common sense. Good for a new teacher or veteran to remind them of what life is like "in the trenches."
Oct 06, 2012 Brenda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as part of work professional development. The beginning chapter was promising. It is really an overlong article. While many ideas are good reminders for teachers, a lot is repetitive. Still, it allows some insight into the confusing contradiction of the tween mind.
Aug 25, 2008 Cori rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this one for a class, and as a new teacher, I found it very helpful to get middle schoolers' perspectives on their teachers, which is basically all this book is. Everything they had to say seemed pretty authenitc.
Maria Centanni
Great resource for a first-year teacher. Relevant, but nothing new. The way it's written is tough to get through...yes, we know middle schoolers are irrational and contradictory, we talk with them every day!
Jessica Lowery
Jun 27, 2016 Jessica Lowery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy read for middle-school educators who would like to get re-inspired (or inspired for the first time) about serving this community of learners.
Kim F.
Very informational to the dramatics in a middle school mind.
Sep 02, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book offered an interesting perspective into what middle schoolers really think about school.
It was good, and I'm not saying it wasn't valuable, but I wish these books did a slightly better job of going from what teachers "should" do to options for how.
Jun 19, 2011 Ryan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I was hoping this book would help me get inside the head of a middle schooler as I prepare to make the transition this fall, but it was all common-sense stuff.
Jan 31, 2017 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some helpful information and insight from kids similar to the ones I teach.
Mr. Bangs
For middle school teachers
By middle school students

This is a wonderful collection of stories and advice to help teachers respond to student needs and interests.
Jill Adams
Didn't seem as powerful as the high school text.
Pretty good for a book I had to read. ;)
Jan 24, 2012 Emilia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
quick read, good account of the priorities and needs of urban middle schoolers in their own words.
Some interesting advice and insight, but most of it was pretty self-explanatory. I would still recommend it to anyone that teaches middle school though!
Momma rated it liked it
Jun 14, 2015
Beimnet rated it liked it
Jan 01, 2014
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