I Choose To Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner City
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I Choose To Stay: A Black Teacher Refuses to Desert the Inner City

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Embodying the best qualities of education pioneers Joe Clark and Jaime Escalante, Salome Thomas-EL is a black man dedicated to changing the lives--and dreams--of inner city kids. Born in 1964, one of eight children, Salome grew up in the Philadelphia projects. But identified early as "gifted," he had doors opened to him that are closed to most. In a media-related job, talk...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Kensington (first published March 1st 2003)
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This book had such promise, and I came away sorely disappointed. Salome Thomas-El tells his story as a teacher and then a principal in two schools in the troubled Philadelphia school system. From the story he tells and the testimonials he is given in the penultimate chapter, there is no question that Dr. Thomas-El was both a gifted teacher and inspirational leader. However, he does not use that position to offer a critique of the root causes behind the great disparities between urban public scho...more
May 22, 2008 Maureen rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to Maureen by: UMW
A child of the inner city, Salome Thomas-EL managed to survive growing up in the projects in
Philadelphia and ultimately became a principal at an elementary school there. Along the way, he
started a middle school chess team that won a national championship and countless other titles. This is a very engaging, motivational, and highly inspirational book.

So far so good. The reason I'm reading it is that I'm considering a move into teaching. I wanted to know what struggles he faced and how he was able to reach the kids. I respect the author for his own tenacity in pursuing educational success, and perhaps, that is where I really needed to be inspired.
Aug 31, 2008 Hannah rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in urban teaching
Ugh, this dude is the hardest working guy in Philly. The book is ridonkulously inspirational and makes me wanna raise $10,000 for my school's chess team...or something like that.
Virginia Bee
An inspirational book showing what can be accomplished with dedication and imagination.
This book shows how much impact strong, positive teachers can have on the lives of our country's youth. It made me remember my favorite teachers throughout my school years that influenced me to reach higher, see beyond my tiny world, and be a better person.
Janet Jonas
A good read for educators. Lots of good student-focused thinking. Mr. EL is a great model of and inspiration for overcoming adversity. The writing was a bit simplistic and sometimes repetitive, but the book was engaging and very interesting.
Thomas-El is an inspiring individual, with an interesting story. He's a much more engaging speaker than his book is, but it was good to get more details. I particularly appreciated his work engaging young people with chess - lots to celebrate there!
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