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To Teach: The Journey, in Comics

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  452 Ratings  ·  77 Reviews
To teach: the journey in comics is a vivid, honest portrayal of the everyday magic of teaching, and what it means to be a good teacher-debunking myths perpetuated on film and other starry-eyed hero/teacher fictions. Illuminated by the evocative and wry drawings of Ryan Alexander-Tanner, this graphic version of To Teach: the journey of a teacher will engage while it instruc ...more
Paperback, 144 pages
Published May 1st 2010 by Teachers College Press
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Jan 13, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it
Shelves: teaching
I enjoyed this book, and I'd recommend it to all my fellow teacher friends.

There aren't many concepts presented in this book that are new and different, per se, but the presentation (as a graphic novel/comic book) is fresh. It's also always nice to have a friendly reminder of what it truly means to be a GOOD teacher.

In light of all the discussions about the effectiveness of NCLB and standardized testing and whatnot... I think this book does a nice job of offering up potential solutions, or at
Dec 29, 2014 Kristin rated it it was amazing
To Teach the journey, in comics is a radical vision of teaching as a journey toward a better world and teachers as fellow travelers on an adventure of discovery alongside their students. The author uses stories of creative and nurturing ways he engaged his kindergarteners and profiles of other empowering and inspiring teachers to illustrate his core values of love, seeing students as people, compassion and building relationships and a sense of community in the classroom and the world. I think pr ...more
Mar 12, 2013 Scott rated it it was ok
I picked this book up because I wanted to learn about the conundrums and difficulties of teaching from the inside, which graphic novels are often quite good at expressing. I felt that this book taught me nothing that I didn't already know or could idealize on my own though. Kids are people too. Labels shouldn't replace looking at the whole child. Perceived weaknesses are often strengths in a different environment. Et cetera. It's all true, but it could all be said in less space, perhaps leaving ...more
Mar 27, 2011 Malbadeen added it
Recommends it for: teachers that aren't too cynical yet.
A few pages into this I thought I was going to be in for an eye rolling walk done cynicism lane but I have to admit that I mostly agreed with the author.

On the surface it seems a little hipppy-dippy but at end of the day, I think it mostly does a good job of capturing some of the frustrations and challenges of teaching in the aftermath of Bush's NCLB without going so far overboard that it digresses into an intelligible rant like so many other anti-NCLB can easily do.

Some of the panels I especia
Radical and philosophical are two words I'd use to describe To Teach by William Ayers and Ryan Alexander-Tanner. It will make you question every tradition, rule, and classroom procedure we foist upon children in the name of education and discipline.

In this book, Ayers attempts to squash the notion of the mythical heroic teacher "saving" his students from their lives, but in a somewhat contradictory fashion, this book is also a kind of hero's journey in its own right, as the teacher sets out on a
Molly Klodor
Mar 19, 2015 Molly Klodor rated it liked it
I loved reading this book as it was a nice break from the traditional text books. While I can't agree with his argument completely, I respect the work and value Ayers' opinions.
Nov 13, 2016 AnnieOhh624 rated it really liked it
Shelves: college-reads
One of the easiest textbooks I've read.
Kristina King
Sep 10, 2010 Kristina King rated it it was amazing

William Ayers became a national name during the 2008 presidential campaign, where it was revealed he taught Barack Obama how to build bombs. Young Obama was just eight years old when he went on missions with the Weather Underground Organization, a revolutionary group hellbent on destroying Freedom.

While Ayers was never convicted of any crime, his name is forever synonymous with violent radicals. As a Chicago resident (and Obama campaign donor), his decades
I really, really, really like this book. It's like a heart-felt love-letter to teachers. And it's a great distillation (with pictures!) of what I believe education SHOULD be about and the things I continue to strive to embody in my own teaching. Ayers (and by consequence Alexander-Tanner's artwork) focus on the importance of seeing the individuality of students and knowing that teachers and learners build knowledge together; the importance of creating physical spaces that honor, inspire, and sup ...more
Feb 26, 2017 Maureen rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Just the right read to lift my spirits as a teacher. This book was so fun to read and thought provoking as well. It brought me to center to remind me of the idealism and principals that drew me to the profession but with a realism to the obstacles and experience that honors the profession as well.
Jun 16, 2012 Randy rated it it was amazing
To say this book has been a mind expanding read, is not nearly close enough to the truth. This is a book that should be included on reading lists for all students in teacher colleges. I don't imagine it will be though, because so much of what Bill Ayers expounds is not in line with the way the government wants teachers to teach.

His philosophy which comes across so well in both the drawings and the text is one of inquiry. Drawing inspiration from a diverse range of people including the famous dir
Matthew Croisant
Aug 03, 2016 Matthew Croisant rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Current teachers, prospective teachers, anyone interested in a firsthand view of teaching
Recommended to Matthew by: My library
I saw this in the graphic novels section of my local library and picked it up -- I'm planning to acquire my own copy so I can re-read it every year or so.

For me, this book is the bird's-eye complement to, Teach Like a Champion Summary, which I love (2.0 is out, but I've only read the original). Where Teach Like a Champion Summary is the nuts and bolts, technical side of teaching, To Teach: The Journey, in Comics is the ethical guide for how to use those skills. It also presents a more human view
What is the ultimate goal of an educator? Is it to prepare students for standardized tests, leveled groups, and administrative requirement? Is it to provide a welcome environment for open thought and experimentation? What are our internal questions regarding education, and how can we answer them through real world application?

These are some of the questions William Ayers tackles in this graphic novel. A veteran teacher, Ayers uses anecdotal bits to highlight ways in which he himself has faced, a
Jul 23, 2010 Angel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: future teachers, current teachers, parents
This book should be required reading for students in schools of education. Ayers delivers a series of crucial ideas about the craft and art of teaching in a way that is engaging and very accessible. He shows us what it truly takes to be a teacher (no, it is not technique. There are plenty of teachers who can do good lessons plans and manage a classroom only to be proven bad teachers). The narrative not only deals with Bill's story, but he also introduces us to his kindergarten class as well as o ...more
Jan 18, 2012 ba rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Teachers, parents
Recommended to ba by: the internet
First, let me get this off my chest: This probably qualifies as crypto-racism, but when Bill Ayers was all over the news during the Obama campaign, I totally pictured him as looking exactly like Ritchie Havens. Sorry.

This book is fantastic. It doesn't really put forth anything new or unprecedented. But it advances a simple, clear vision of what teaching should be in a common sense manner. Much in the same way that
Be Here Now and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values
Dec 20, 2010 Joe rated it liked it
Written in a graphic, comic-strip format, To Teach: The Journey, in Comics is Bill Ayers' (yes, THAT Bill Ayers) ruminations on what we do as teachers. Ayers uses an extended metaphor of a journey to conceptualize teaching as the ongoing, cyclical learning endeavor that it is. He wisely touches upon the core issues of teaching that every thoughtful educator grapples with year after year:
how we see our students,
how we create a safe environment for learning,
liberating the curriculum from inevit
Aug 16, 2010 Cudjoe rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: HIGHLY
Ask yourself how many books about education have you read? Then ask yourself how many opinions about education you've had without knowing any educational theory. Surely you don't want to be caught up in educational mumbo jumbo. Point is everyone thinks they have ideas or solutions to education without knowing anything about how humans learn. Teachers do and the best try to build a great environment where they can learn, discover and explore. Education professor Bill Ayers (yes from Election 2008 ...more
Jan 04, 2012 CJ rated it it was amazing
Bill Ayers is the teacher I wanted to be - nurturing and creative. Unfortunately, I allowed myself to be molded into the teacher I was expected to be - regimental and meeting "standards". Every parent, teacher, and administrator should read this book (the artwork makes it accessible to every type of reader) and seek a Bill Ayers in every classroom!
Ryan Alexander-Tanner adds even more imagination to the journey with his clever drawings. They enhance Bill's words and beautifully illustrate the rea
Jodi Mae
Passionate treatise by Ayers, who loves his profession and the children he teaches, written by a public education teacher for other teachers or those interested in the education process, focusing on education reform and creative education practices within the system. It provides ideas on how to work around the rigid parameters and modern day teaching-to-the-test standardization policies and data driven outcomes, and on how to view each child as a separate but whole individual with their own lear ...more
Apr 10, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing
In the land of standardized testing, Common Core, school closings, teacher devaluation, and student "evaluations," I am reinvigorated by Ayers' powerful work. I read the original as I prepared to become an educator and was equally touched by it; somehow, as a GN, it evokes in me an even greater sense of urgency and passion to do something more, to challenge the "system" that is currently eroding our educational practice, to find ways to make sure that we truly can "step off the cliff and into th ...more
May 14, 2014 Tammy rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
Graphic novel of the true life adventures of William Ayers as an elementary school teacher. Ayers obviously loves teaching and loves his students but has to struggle with administration and paperwork. His approach to teaching is for lots of group activities and lots of kinetic interaction with the learning items. He believes that kids learn best when having fun and feeling like they are playing instead of working. His class is very busy and loud. As an introvert who likes structure I would have ...more
Sarah Hunter
May 19, 2012 Sarah Hunter rated it it was amazing
Shelves: race, education, comics
I was really surprised by how much I loved this book. There are so many critical pedagogy memoirs out there, but this was the first I had seen in graphic novel form. The advantage of this format is that you can "see" how the concepts of dialogue and student-led pedagogy actually work. I also loved the way that he brought in friends of his who had similar teaching styles. It's also a quick read, which is great for those of us who are working on degrees or teaching all day long. This is definitely ...more
Hilary Yastrum
I personally love graphic novels, especially ones that are a resource for teachers! This book is a wonderful book for teachers that looks into the life of one teacher's classroom that shows the many faulty things wrong with our current education system. The comic uses humor to reveal very serious topics and matters that educators have to go through. The book also lists and disproves many of the numerous myths out there about teachers. I really enjoyed this graphic novel and will keep it as a res ...more
Something about the blurbs on the back of this book made me think this would be much more of a autobiographical text - I was hoping for something with lots of funny anecdotes like in the zine On Subbing.
This was the wrong thing to expect. This is a primarily didactic, theoretical text about the art of teaching. Which has its place, of course. Adequate and fine for what it is. I do agree with the philosophy for the most part, though have little hands on experience as a former homeschooler.
Apr 02, 2012 Traci rated it liked it
This is a great book for aspiring teachers to read. It follows a teacher through all the ups and downs of teaching. He explains difficulties he has faced in the classroom and proper ways he believes they should be handled. He offers a lot of great advice and brought attention to things that I may have never thought of before actually becoming a teacher. The fact that is was in comic form made it a lot more interesting and appealing. Overall the story wasn't the most exciting one, but it was very ...more
I never knew how complicated the world of teaching could be. I, being a student myself, have never really thought about my teachers as anything else but a teacher. I soon realized how difficult the teaching job can be. The emotional stress to do whats right would cause me to have a breakdown. I also learned that the teacher learns as well as the students. The illustrations where uniquely drawn. It was pretty funny at parts also. I learned a lot from this. I suggest this to anyone.
May 01, 2012 Meg rated it liked it
I went to a NYCORE conference and heard the two authors speak about this book and teaching----it was one of the best speeches I have heard about teaching and I was eager to read this book....especially since it is a graphic novel.

It is a good book---and has good advice IF you are a new/beginner teacher. As a 5th year teacher.... most of the "advice" was "duh!"....The drawings were lovely and I completely agree with the philosophy....but I didn't learn anything new with this book.

Jan 30, 2012 Alecia rated it really liked it
In graphic novel format -- gave the content an interesting perspective. The book is definitely meant to reform education and talks a lot about "liberating the curriculum" and focusing more on the child rather than the "restrictive" state standards, etc. Some of it was kind of fluffy and redundant, but overall it was a good book! Makes you think! And inspires me even more to become an awesome teacher. ;)
Jan 14, 2016 Scott rated it it was ok
This is excellent - I like his approach as a teacher to letting the students teach him about themselves and how they learn best.

Picked this up at the library and it sounds intriguing. It's well done.
I especially like how it responds to the push to place labels on all students

It wasnt until halfway through the book that I realized this Bill Ayers is the controversial one for his activist background.
Sep 02, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
Earnest and passionate times ten. On a topic I am thirsty for: what is it to teach well and how do you get there.
I was moved (to tears!) several times and photocopied the two-age spread of William Ayers' questions that help "liberate the curriculum." A litte too much protesting about standardized testing(I get it already), but that's a small quibble in an otherwise brave anthem. Loved Ryan Alexander-Tanner's keen eye and skilled hand.
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