Fresh from a postcollege, intensive five-week crash course, Johnston began his two-year stint with Teach for America, a program that addresses the needs of some of America's most desperate classrooms. In Johnston's case, it's a high school classroom in Greenville, Miss., with "chalkboards so scratched, rusted, and embedded with chalk dust that I couldn't read the boards even if I wrote on them with fresh white paint." There he teaches students who have been through "more funerals than honor roll assemblies" due to drugs and gang violence. The school system's countless institutional failures (among them, a counselor who sells high school credits) challenge Johnston's assurance that education was the "one valuable skill I could bring to Mississippi that she could use." The students' truancy, sexual promiscuity and aggression sorely test Johnston's conviction that "underneath, they were vulnerable... still children." Successes are minuscule and failure is rampant. What makes Johnston's account noteworthy is his ability to move beyond making generalizations about impoverished schools and students. Rather, he takes readers into the constricted and often doomed lives of individuals: Corelle catches up on months of work with a six-hour marathon, but drops out of school; "confident, gracious, and charismatic" Egina becomes the accidental victim of cross fire. Although Johnston occasionally catches sight of a "few students who were trying to work effectively," they occupy the periphery. "In making the Delta my home," he observes, "I found inside her a despair beyond any I could have imagined." That compassion, leavened with good sense, makes this honest and often painful account a moving, memorable call for action.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A participant in Teach for America, which places teachers in needy areas throughout the country, recounts the program's 12-year history and its accomplishments.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Having grown up near Greenville, I was interested in this "yankee's" take on the problems facing a poverty stricken area. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Bahia Honda
As a current Teach for America Corps Member, teaching close to the city of Greenville, MS, I was able to relate to the story on many levels. Read morePublished on December 27, 2010 by ben schurhamer
This is an excellent book about a man who teaches at-risk students for 2 years. His writing style is engaging and I was pulled in immediately. I do recommend this book. Read morePublished on September 28, 2010 by SW Author
A must-read for any teacher! Very inspiring and a serious eye-opener to what a teacher may have to face. Read morePublished on May 17, 2010 by Keith B.
Mr. Michael Johnston is now serving the schools in Colorado by his work in passing a piece of legislation to improve the school systems. Read morePublished on May 17, 2010 by R. Holman
this review is not about this book, its about the long wait to get it. i needed this book for my education class, but the book never came... Read morePublished on December 19, 2009 by Kevin Koch
Johnston's novel about teaching in a poverty stricken high school in the still racially divided South is truly inspiring. Read morePublished on May 3, 2009 by Shannon
I found Johnston's story both fascinating and disturbing. As a Mississippian, I have witnessed first-hand the negative impact that societal breakdown has on many of our state's... Read morePublished on August 5, 2007 by R. Zumwalt