Educating Esme by Esme Codell

educatingesmeEsme Codell sounds like the sort of teacher you would love to have in elementary school.

She insists that her students call her Madame Esme.

She does fun things like holds a fairy tale festival with a fashion show and a carnival. She creates a time machine for her students so they can “time travel” while they read.

Instead of Math, Science, and Social Studies, they have puzzling, mad scientist time, and time traveling and world exploring.

She gets her students excited about learning.

But her first year isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. She teaches in Chicago Public Schools and her students bring their problems to class even though she would love to protect them from the outside world.

The parents of some of her students are in prison or in extreme poverty. There are parents whose idea of supporting the teacher at home is to beat good behavior into the kids. On a field trip, gang members surround the bus and throw stones at the windows.

A normal person might have given up mid-year. A person who follows the rules. But not Esme. She does things her own way. Let me read you an example.

Read January 12 on pg. 88.

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