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Comment: This book has already been loved by someone else. It MIGHT have some wear and tear on the edges, have some markings in it, or be an ex-library book. Over-all itâ?TMs still a good book at a great price! (if it is supposed to contain a CD or access code, that may be missing)
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Among Schoolchildren Paperback – September 1, 1990

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (September 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380710897
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380710898
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

" Christine Zajac teaches fifth grade in a racially mixed school in a poor district of Holyoke, Mass. . . . Through Kidder's calmly detailed re-creation of Zajac's daily round we come to know her students' fears and inmost strivings; we also share this teacher's frustrations, loneliness and the rush of satisfaction that comes with helping students learn," wrote PW. "A compelling microcosm of what is wrong--and right--with our educational system."
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Many readers have come to expect that anything authored by Kidder ( House, LJ 8/85; Soul of a New Machine, LJ 8/81) will be of high merit. This latest nonfiction work is no exception. It tells in detail the story of a young teacher's daily life and work in the Kelly School, a part of the Holyoke, Massachusetts school system. From September to June, Chris Zajac, a caring, dedicated teacher struggles with the nearly superhuman task of teaching inner-city children, many from impoverished and broken homes. Her pupils are often ill-fed, victims of severe neglect, or worse. Readers will become engrossed in her daily battle to teach these youngsters. (Over half stay up until 12:30 a.m. to watch TV). She agonizes over her pupils, one Clarence in particular. Kidder allows the reader to savor the small daily victories and taste the angst of failure. A warm, honest, refreshingly positive look inside a classroom. Essential for most libraries.
- Annette V. Janes, Hamilton P.L., Mass.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Tracy Kidder graduated from Harvard and studied at the University of Iowa. He has won the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Robert F. Kennedy Award, and many other literary prizes. The author of Mountains Beyond Mountains, My Detachment, Home Town, Old Friends, Among Schoolchildren, House, and The Soul of a New Machine, Kidder lives in Massachusetts and Maine.

Customer Reviews

This book gives the reader a very good outlook on what its like to be a teacher.
ashlee calhoun
Tracy Kidder captures the angst and the anger of the classroom in his book, "Among Schoolchildren," about the teaching-life of Mrs. Chris Zajac.
Larry Rochelle
Kidder fantastically shows this courage, compassion, and love for children that teachers need in order to go into such a powerful profession.
Jill U.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was inspired to write this review not because I loved Among Schoolchildren-of course I did; I had Mrs. Zajac for a teacher. I was in the 6th grade when Mr. Kidder spent a year at The Kelly School. My motivation was from reading another review-someone questioned if Mrs. Zajac really had a LASTING impression on these students. I would compare myself to Alice-I had a loving family, intelligence, motivation. . .whether or not I had Mrs. Zajac for the 5th grade I would have attended college. But a lasting impression. . .to this day she remains one of my top three teachers-including college. She is unique-and maybe from reading the book the reader doesn't see that, but she is not the average teacher. And I think parents would feel the same way. She is a very wonderful teacher and a true friend. Please, don't read this book and think her students "forgot 5th grade" it's scarey how much I remember of 5th grade. Her mix of humor, toughness and compassion make her a great role model; and now that I too am in education I hope my students remember me as fondly as I remember her.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Catherine S. Vodrey on September 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a former schoolteacher and the wife of a teacher, I can tell you that Tracy Kidder's "Among Schoolchildren" accurately and soberly depicts what teaching is really like, day to day, year in and year out.
Mrs. Zajac, the grade school teacher on whom Kidder focuses his detailed narrative, is what every teacher should be: tough in a loving way, disciplined, self-aware, willing to admit to her own faults (and when she's boring herself and knows she needs to shake up the lesson next time to avoid boring the students), brimming over with ideas. She's a wonder, and the kind of teacher every child should have at least once in their grade school career.
Kidder leaves no stone unturned. We see here not only the joys and sorrows of teaching, but the accumulation of detail that leaves us feeling we understand, from the inside out, what teachers go through in order to get through to their students. We see how "problem students" and "good students" present different challenges, how teachers and administrators deal with each other (and deal with the parents, the superintendent, and the school board), and even such mundane concerns as how to keep the class in Kleenex (they go through about twenty boxes a year). Though the book is over a decade old, it's prescient about some things. The majority of students in Mrs. Zajac's class are Hispanic--a growing truth throughout the United States--so along with the everyday frustrations of every teacher, we see that Mrs. Zajac has an additional workload imposed merely by the presence of a language barrier:
"Horace, are you all done?"
"Then why are you talking to Jorge?"
She turned back around and said to Felipe and Jimmy, "What's the matter with you two? The minute I turn my head, you have to talk?
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am an African-American teacher, and I highly disagree with the one star review that this book received -- that it is nice for 'white women' teachers. Good teaching is not a black and white issue. Caring is not a black and white issue. It is irrevelent if the teacher is black, white, brown, etc.. It is attitudes such as these, the elevation of ourselves in terms of educational importance, I believe, that lessons the teaching profession and is a major contributor, I believe, to why people do not want to be teachers. I became a teacher because I love to see my students grow mentally, intellectually and physically. The minority and white teachers I work with are outstanding, and I am happy they are my co-workers. Mr. kidder's book is one shining example of a beautiful teacher who is a representative of all of us who do teaching for the right reasons. Thank-you, Mr. Kidder!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By "amandaagnes" on June 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Kidder's examination of a 5th grade classroom is a fascinating study of the complex little societies that every child interacts with every day. His descriptions of the dynamics of Mrs. Zajac's class brought me back to my own elementary school days and the familiar roles that the children here seem to have-- the troublemakers, the smart students, the space cadets... Until, that is, his close observation of the children's behavior reveals how complex each of these young people actually is.
Mrs. Zajac, as the ruler of this mini-society, is a fascinating character in herself. Her tough-love compassion for her students and her attempt to address all of their needs provides a fascinating up-close look at the way a teacher with the best of intentions can both draw out students or send them hurtling back into their shell. The well-documented phenomenon of teachers spending much more time with their male students is seen here-- clearly an unconscious thing on her part because she mentions her desire to interact with all of her students consistently throughout the book. In short, a fascinating text for anyone interested in education or in child psychology. The minute observations that Kidder makes of the various reactions the students have to events in the classroom are fascinating. My only criticism-- he sometimes seems to tend toward large generalizations and sometimes to interpret a little too liberally what the students might be thinking and experiencing. When he allows the children to speak for themselves the text is much more engaging.
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