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The Emergency Teacher: The Inspirational Story of a New Teacher in an Inner City School

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  155 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Christina Asquith presents a moving first-hand account of her year teaching in one of Philadelphia’s worst schools. Told with striking humor and honesty, her story begins when the School District of Philadelphia, in desperate need of 1,500 new teachers, instituted a policy of hiring “emergency certified” instructors. Asquith, then a 25-year-old reporter for the Philadelphi ...more
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published November 17th 2007 by Skyhorse (first published October 1st 2005)
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Young up-and-coming journalist specializing in education reporting takes a year off to teach as an "emergency certified" teacher in inner-city Philadelphia. She begins with idealistic ambitions to seek out the problems with public education, recommend solutions to the board, and turn education around through her singular experience. She soon realizes the complexities of "what's wrong with our schools" and, to my growing admiration, provides a clear-eyed critical but compassionate view of the con ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’ve often said that I could write a book for every one of my 23 years teaching high school. Teaching is the most rewarding, fulfilling, life-affirming, exhilarating profession one could aspire to do. That’s under the best of circumstances. In the real world, it is also often exhausting, demanding, heart-breaking, discouraging and demoralizing. What this reporter discovered when she decided to take on the role of a teacher for one year is that idealism goes out the window pretty darned quickly o ...more
An enjoyable read

A lot of the information is definitely outdated at this point, but so much of it still holds true that I would recommend anyone considering a profession in teaching read this to get an idea of just how difficult a job it can be. Well-written and easy to read, this book is an enjoyable and enlightening tale of one teacher’s experiences.
Sep 25, 2017 rated it liked it
I didn't even know emergency teachers were a thing until recently. It was interesting to read about teaching in an inner city school from someone that didn't have a teaching degree.
Bethany Scherbarth
Jan 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
If only I were shocked by most of the stories she tells about working in an inner-city Philly school, but after having worked in New Orleans public schools for just a couple months, I'm really not.

The author hits the nail on the head, if you ask me. She was in exactly the position I am now, young and idealistic and suckered in to taking on an extraordinarily difficult teaching position, suckered in by believing she could make a difference. Which you can, but it's easier said than done. New teach
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A young reporter became a teacher for a year in the worst middle school in Philadelphia. "Emergency teacher" is a loaded term which means that she was hired in August with no education related to teaching, just a desire to make a difference. [Philadelphia needed 2000 teachers and had no qualified applicants]. Her story is powerful and she takes us through trials and terrors, the joys and satisfactions of her year. She grows in her love for her kids, even some of the most trying, but most in need ...more
Jun 18, 2020 added it
Shelves: 2010-11
For the month of April, I read “The Emergency Teacher” by Christina Asquith. This was an excellent book and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in education and how we have failed minority inner-city populations. Asquith gives a first-person account of her experience as an “emergency teacher” in Philadelphia in 2000, when there was a dramatic teacher shortage and the school district was offering $1500 signing bonuses to people who just walked in off the street with no teaching experience. ...more
Margie Dorman
Jun 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perspectives on Inner City and Large School Divisions Policies and Practices

I gave Ms. Asquith's book a rating of five. It is a fair representation of life in neglected underfunded unsupported school divisions. Society's greatest gifts are its children and when we fail them we fail as a generation. As a retired educator I have seen a whole generation of parents ,politicians, and tax payers completely abdicate their responsibilities. Not one group can fix the diverse problems and complexities of
Noella Allisen
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am heartbroken for all of the kids and all of the dedicated, caring teachers who end up in a school such as this. It's an uphill battle all the way as clearly portrayed in this very telling story. There is no happy ending. So many kudos to Miss Asquith for trying her best and for knowing when enough was enough. Well written. It touched my soul.
May 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sad but true

This is the heart wrenching story of a young woman trying to make a difference in a crumbling, inner city school in the 1980’s. I was equally angry and sad as I read this book knowing that the disparity between rich and poor districts is all too real. Brought tears to my eyes.
Miki Bridges
Nov 04, 2019 rated it liked it
It was an interesting story about the history of a school in Philadelphia and the experience Christina Asquith had during her year as an emergency teacher. If you are a teacher or interested in becoming a teacher, this is a good book to read.
Beverly Hollandbeck
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Every page of this teacher's one-year experience in an inner city Philadelphia middle school - really child warehouse - reminded me of how grateful I am for my 30 years of teaching in a district with high standards, administrative support, and integrity.
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
This story reminded me a lot of my time in a school serving with AmeriCorps. She captures the complexity of it all so well. A school where everyone is trying their best to manage with conditions that are unreal. Highly recommend to anyone who works in schools.
Jane Kelly
Jul 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Eye opening insight into the near hopeless challenges faced by teachers in underfunded, understaffed inner city schools.
Aug 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Christina Asquith recounts her decision to leave her career path as a journalist at The Philadelphia Inquirer to "change a life" as an emergency certified (read: no training whatsoever) teacher in one of the lowest ranked middle schools in the country. What follows is part heart breaking clarity of what is truly wrong with the school systems and why there is a teacher shortage; and part bizarre homage to the teaching guru Harry Wong and various writers from the Inquirer. Her references to both o ...more
Jul 25, 2011 added it
2011- As someone who is a young educator, I can identify with many of the things Asquith mentions in her book: the triumphs, the troubles, and the hope for the future. However, Asquith nobly put herself in a extremely hard position: that of an emergency teacher in inner-city Philadelphia. From the very beginning, the odds are stacked against her. She has little educational training, next to no administration support, and students who come from some of the city's most desperate neighborhoods. But ...more
Jan 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
i was disgusted/appalled after reading it - NOT at the author, but at the School District of Philadelphia where she taught 6th grade at one of the worst inner city middle schools for a year because she wanted to make a difference. it was heartwarming to read about those students who had improved, but there was so much more that could've been done in the first place.
Jun 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
Great book to read for anyone that knows a teacher, is going to become a teacher, or is a teacher. What teachers have to go through nowadays especially teachers in the inner city is eye opening. It will touch your heart and make you have a stronger appreciation and realization that teaching is one of the hardest and selfless jobs out there.
Jun 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult-novels
This real life story of a young journalist who changes her career for a short time to see how inner city school systems work and how they basically set up children for failure is an inspirational and realistic story of the struggles students and teachers face when they have no support from administration.
Kiersten Krog
Sep 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great read, but just a sad truth of what goes on in an inner city school. It just seems like no matter how hard you try the kids either won't listen, are already too far behind, or bored because the work is too easy.
Victoria B.
Jul 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I think other UF Proteachers would be able to relate...
Dec 14, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: education
the "dialogue" in this book makes me so embarrassed for asquith
Michaela Reardon
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Jun 27, 2018
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