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Inside Mrs. B.'s Classroom

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  233 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
A respected journalist turned-teacher reveals what's really happening in America's schools

In 1999, Chicago Sun-Times veteran Leslie Baldacci left her prestigious, twenty-five year career to teach at a public school in one of Chicago's roughest South Side neighborhoods.

As she later commented, "I thought I knew rough. I thought I had answers. I didn't know jack."

But Baldacci
ebook, 224 pages
Published August 22nd 2003 by McGraw-Hill Education (first published January 10th 2003)
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Leslie Baldacci had been an award winning journalist for the Chicago Sun Times for over fifteen years, and a newspaper reporter for her entire professional career. As the 20th century drew to a close and Chicago public schools lagged as some of the worst in the nation, Baldacci decided to quit her job and enter into the teaching profession as part of the Teach for Chicago program. In her two years as an intern at a decrepit south side school, Baldacci learned as much about how the school system ...more
Sep 06, 2008 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked Ms. Baldacci's memoir of her two years of "trial by fire" as a grad student in an alternative licensing program for teachers...which she spent in a typical urban school with little support and a lot of administrative ridiculousness. She writes well, worked hard for her students, and is still teaching today (unlike the majority of her cohort, who didn't make it through the first year of the program).
Kim Nowak
Oct 20, 2007 Kim Nowak rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this years ago when I was considering leaving my job to teach in Chicago Public Schools. It didn't completely scare me away - though maybe just enough! Seriously, a really good, real account of the challenges of an inner city teacher. The writer used to be a reporter for the Tribune and I found it to be very well done. \
Sheena  at Hot Eats and Cool Reads
This was a great and inspirational book. I love that Mrs Baldacci quit her higher paying Journalist job to work with low income inner city kids at a school in the south side of Chicago. She encountered many struggles during her teaching internship and I feel alot of it had to do with the crappy administration in the school. This goes to show how some schools and students are left behind just because of where they live. The school was in shambles with no stalls or doors on the majority of bathroo ...more
May 11, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
Although I have read several "teacher" books of the same ilk, I never fail to find enjoyment and inspiration among the pages. Written by a former Journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times, Leslie Baldacci recounts her first two years of struggle in a tough Chicago neighborhood wracked with poverty and crime.
May 10, 2017 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading about Mrs. B's first 2 years of intern teaching with kids who come from poverty and violence around them every day. It also tells how the higher ups in her school system don't care about creative teaching or the teachers as much as they care about the standardized testing which does "not" work for all children.

Very good book.
May 01, 2011 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
One of the best parts about super-tiny libraries is that they invite browsing. I found Inside Mrs. B's Classroom: Courage, Hope, and Learning on Chicago's South Side on a shelf in the "new nonfiction" section, and it seemed particularly relevant given that I was, at the time, hoping to teach in Chicago someday. From the back of the book I picked up the general idea that Mrs. Baldacci was a reporter for the Sun-Times when she decided to make a career change and become a teacher. Interested in pic ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Rick rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mrs. B’s book about her two years as an intern under the Teachers For Chicago program (alternative teacher certification to resolve a teacher shortage) was an interesting if unfinished chronicle. She addresses her trials and tribulations and triumphs in helping educate seventh and second graders during her two-year internship. That part of the book was heart-rending, thought-provoking, and written with an eye to both the humor and sadness found in inner-city, under-served schoolroom situations. ...more
Jun 28, 2015 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
I think Inside Mrs. B's Classroom is a book that everyone should read, not necessarily because of the author's first two years of heroic teaching on Chicago's south side, but because it exemplifies the problems, pressures and sacrifices that many teachers make every day in a variety of school settings. Having spent most of my career in teacher education, I can see how this book would be an asset to prospective teachers. I am surprised the author's book is not available in paperback, which is a r ...more
May 11, 2008 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book based on one teacher's experience teaching in the inner-city. It is very accurate portrayal of what a teacher goes through when teaching in this environment. I read this after my first year of teaching and related to her experience almost exactly. The struggles that she went through as well as all of the isolation that occurs are very common among inner city teachers. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to be a teacher or anyone that wants to know what teaching ...more
Aug 14, 2016 Sheila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a must-read book for anyone interested in education -- and really, everyone should care about the future of our kids. I was drawn into Mrs. B.'s world, felt her pain, winced at her frustrations, and reveled in her joy when teaching the under-served children of Chicago's south side (my home town). Also, I was so impressed with the author's honesty, dedication and selflessness as she navigated the challenges of this sad environment. She changed careers to serve, and I am grateful to her fo ...more
Mark Isero
Jun 08, 2011 Mark Isero rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
I like Mrs. B. She tells good stories and gives specific suggestions. Although I would never suggest that a teacher follow the practices of a teacher they've read about, I would say that reading these kinds of teacher narratives, especially during the summer, can recharge teachers to get them ready for the new year.
Jun 12, 2011 Jien rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The foreshadowing in this book was annoying. She would bring up something interesting that wouldn't happen until much later in the book. This succeeded in making me angry at the author as I was reading for bringing something up and then not talking about it for another hundred pages. Overall the story was mostly worthwhile.
Believe it or not, but in 2001 there was a huge teacher shortage. People were leaving their professions to become teachers. It is amazing how much our world changes. I hope that it will go full circle and that we have another teacher shortage. This book was a great perspective on Mrs. B's first year as a struggling teacher at a school in Chicago.
Apr 23, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this memoir! As a teacher's aide who assists in educating students with emotional needs, I really identified with this lady, and consider myself very blessed to be part of my student's lives! This hardworking teacher taught in very undesirable conditions, had little support, but loved her students as her own! " The job of teaching, performed with an open heart, carries a burden of grief."
May 17, 2010 Tracy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I Writer for 25 years for the Sun-Times, Leslie Baldacci decides to become a teacher to help the children of Chicago & teach in their inner city schools. Taking a 2/3's pay cut and giving up a lot of sleep, she bravely does what it takes to change the world one student at a time. Very moving and inspiring!
Sep 13, 2010 F. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had used a variety of books in the past to have my students read as part of their course with me on Foundations of Education.

Inside Mrs. B's Classroom, readers can actually imagine themselves in Mrs. B's class as she describes the typical day of school in Chicago's South Side. To continue reading, go
this gave an interesting insight of how a meaningful start towards real profession in the field of teaching and though it shows that it is going to take long time for everything to fall into their place, i think it is going to be worth a try someday.
Sarah G.
Mar 25, 2008 Sarah G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At the beginning, I kept hoping she would fail because her classroom seemed too idealistic. But she kept it real and it reminded me of why I'm still teaching (not just for summer holiday). I definitely related to her experience, and maybe someday there'll be one about Miz G's classroom.
Aug 12, 2011 Myriam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The author signed up for this experience and yet complained about mostly everything. Troubled students are found everywhere, not just in the inner city and not just minorities. My opinion of the book went downhill when she said she was in 'poverty', now really?
Jun 17, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Baldacci leaves life as a journalist to become a Chicago public school teacher. She exposed what goes on in urban schools today. Her tales may seem shocking. People may not believe them. As a former urban school educator I guarantee they are true.
Jun 23, 2009 Terry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I cannot understand why this edition is so difficult to find, and why a paperback edition was never issued. An excellent book on the genre (a kindhearted person who cares about education and poverty takes a teaching job with eye-opening and heart-rending results).
Anne Johnson
Being a teacher in a small, rural school, this book was very eye opening!
Sep 22, 2009 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a wonderful book. It has given me so much mortovation to get back in the classroom and make a difference.
Feb 26, 2008 Aod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teaching, chicago
Nov 10, 2009 Magersdorf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reinforced my opinion that working conditions for teachers makes a huge difference in the quality of teaching. Also, schools cannot replace stable, functional families.
How good (or not) teachers are = so only a TINY PART of the problem.
Aug 17, 2012 Vicky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very inspiring book that I read to get me motivated for my upcoming school year :)
Apr 07, 2009 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, chicago
"Try to imagine a job so stressful it gives you hives. But [they don't:] quit over hives." (pg. 87)
Nov 07, 2008 Trish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great teacher book!
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