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Up the Down Staircase

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  7,535 Ratings  ·  494 Reviews
Bel Kaufman's Up the Down Staircase is one of the best-loved novels of our time. It has been translated into sixteen languages, made into a prize-winning motion picture, and staged as a play at high schools all over the United States; its very title has become part of the American idiom.

Never before has a novel so compellingly laid bare the inner workings of a metropolitan
Paperback, 368 pages
Published July 3rd 1991 by Harper Perennial (first published 1964)
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Diane Barnes
May 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I was never a teacher, but I was certainly a student, as was my daughter. For me, and later for her, there were a few great teachers who stood out and made learning a desired thing for it's own sake. The dedication and passion and time expended by these educators is surely undervalued.
Up the Down Staircase was written by one of these teachers, a novel about a young teacher in a New York City high school trying to navigate between the needs of her students and the beaurocracy of the system. Writt
I have found a book to add to my collection of inspiration-to-stay-a-teacher-media; I found it just in time.

Even though the book was originally published five years before I was born, teaching really hasn't changed that much. No surprise. Students haven't changed either.

I recognize entirely too much of the jargon. I recognize entirely too many of the statistics. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I also recognize the lesson she learned that I have to relearn: the students know w
Jan Priddy
Sep 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: future teachers
"Disregard bells!"

This is an epistolary novel of the first term teaching by a young woman in a NYC public high school. Kaufman already had 20 years teaching in NYC schools when she saw this first novel published. The main character, Sylvia, is a serious woman who is unprepared by her education for classes of SS students (Super-Slows) and ordinary kids facing trouble in over-filled poor facilities. None of this is new. She faces what many teachers face today: too many students, an over-worked, se
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In one high school, in a special annex for boys, two tall boys served as my bodyguards when I walked down the hall. One walked in front, the other behind me. One morning a boy came to class three months late. I greeted him with a feeble joke: “Welcome back! What happened? Did you rob a bank?” “No,” he said. “A grocery store.”

הספר מתאר את חוויותיה של מורה בשם סילביה בבית ספר ציבורי אמריקאי. היא בעיקר נתקלת בילדים ממשפחות מעוטות יכולת, היספנים, פורטוריקנים, אפרו אמריקאים ואיטלקים.

הילדים עסוקים בבע
Matthew Gallant
Feb 10, 2008 rated it really liked it
I just prayed that I wouldn't waste another week or two of summer courses for my Master's Degree with another doozy of a book like "Oh the Glory of It All." I didn't. Thank God this book was required for class. At that point, I'd been a teacher for three years, now it's five, and in ten years, I'll be able to say i'm a third of the way through my career and forty years into life. And everything that happens on every page of "Up the Down Staircase" will still be 100% true of public education and ...more
Feb 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: rereaded
103-годишната днес проф. Бел Кауфман публикува "Нагоре по стълбата, която води надолу" преди почти 50 години. Превеждана, преиздавана, екранизирана, превърнала се в многоседмичен бестселър, култово четиво и част от учебната програма, тя е можело да си остане незабележим разказ от три и половина страници, ако бдителна редактора не усетила потенциала на записките от учителското кошче.

Попадна ми в далечните гимназиални години, незнайно откъде и се превърна в една от книгите с главно К. В нея беше з
Melissa McShane
I can't believe I've never rated this book before. I come back to it occasionally because it's easy to read and yet quite powerful in what it has to say about teens, teachers, and education in general. Told through letters, memos, circulars, and, in one very painful moment, the notebook of one of the students, it describes the life of one new teacher through the course of a single semester in a New York high school. This is not an elite school, and these are not high achievers: Sylvia Barrett, a ...more
May 24, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Libbylooloo by: Andrea
I learned that white people back in the sixties don't talk about racism much less the complexities of race. They also talk like Julie Andrews from the sound of music. This book wasn't funny like my friend said. I want my dollar back.
A lady and i were sitting next to each other in the bart station and she mentioned that she went to an inner city school in New York when this book came out in the sixties. I asked if she thought it was weird that the book never talked about the race issues of the t
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I am admittedly biased. Up the Down Staircase delves into the realm of teaching and education, which, as a future teacher, has me mesmerized. While studying it, as I'm sure any other reader would do, I repeatedly asked myself "What difference can one teacher make in an inner-city world of pupil complacency and administrative beauracracy?" Kaufman examines the topic through a variety of written documents: memos from the principal, comments from a suggestion box, letters to an old friend, notes fr ...more
Mike (the Paladin)
I've mentioned several books here that I only read because my girl friend of the 60s wanted me to, or at least introduced me to them. This may be another, I can't remember, but I did read it about that time.

While the book tended (and for all I know still tends) to be thought of as more a "female" read. This is a misnomer and if you allow yourself to miss this book because you think it's not for "men" you'll miss a "good read".

The novel is an epistolary tale of the struggle a dedicated young tea
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SUMMARY 1 14 Apr 13, 2013 02:23PM  
  • To Sir, With Love
  • The Trouble with Angels
  • Good-Bye, Mr. Chips
  • Losing My Faculties: A Teacher's Story
  • Looking for Mr. Goodbar
  • 36 Children
  • The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
  • Serpico
  • 32 Third Graders and One Class Bunny: Life Lessons from Teaching
  • Please Don't Eat the Daisies
  • Relentless Pursuit: A Year in the Trenches with Teach for America
  • Cress Delahanty
  • The Blackboard Jungle
  • The Nun's Story
  • Small Victories: The Real World of a Teacher, Her Students, and Their High School
  • Good Morning, Miss Dove
  • Among Schoolchildren
  • Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America's Educationally Un derprepared
Bel Kaufman (b. 1911) was a bestselling writer, dedicated teacher, and lecturer best known for her novel Up the Down Staircase (1965), a classic portrayal of life in the New York public school system. Kaufman was born in Berlin, the daughter of Russian parents and granddaughter of celebrated Yiddish writer Sholom Aleichem. Her family moved to Odessa when she was three, and Russian is her native la ...more
More about Bel Kaufman...
“Best marks go to cheaters and memorizers. Marks depend on memorizing and not on real knowledge. When you cram into your head for a test you may get a high mark but forget it the next day. That's not an education. I suggest just Good and Bad at the end of the term on report cards. Or maybe nothing.
Frank Allen”
“I'm buried beneath an avalanche of papers, I don't understand the language of the country, and what do I do about a kid who calls me "Hi, teach!"?
FROM: Room 508
TO: Room 304
Nothing. Maybe he calls you Hi, teach! because he likes you. Why not answer Hi, pupe?
The clerical work is par for the course. "Keep on file in numerical order" means throw in waste-basket. You'll soon learn the language. "Let it be a challenge to you" means you're stuck with it; "interpersonal relationships" is a fight between kids; "ancillary civic agencies for supportive discipline" means call the cops; "Language Arts Dept." is the English office; "literature based on child's reading level and experiential background" means that's all they've got in the Book Room; "non-academic-minded" is a delinquent; and "It has come to my attention" means you're in trouble.”
More quotes…