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on September 7, 2003
This book was awesome! If I had read this before my first year of teaching, I would have been a much better teacher. I'm really glad I came across it in a bookstore and bought it on a whim as I entered my second year of teaching. It's a book that I know I will read again after a bad day to connected to my students' point of view. It's also a book that I plan to share with many of my colleagues. It really hepled me see things from a kids' perspective. I think it will change my teaching for the better.
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on January 6, 2009
This text has a lot to offer in terms of the nuances of how kids act and think, and about how they perceive education. What is particularly troubling about this text is an introduction about how the author worked with a group of children to get a colleague fired. I suppose this is okay because she is a journalist and not a teacher? But is this really a good model of writing/documenting - if not of teaching or of educational research? Surely there is some compromise between neglecting student voices and inappropriately colluding with students to fire inexperienced or overwhelmed colleagues. (Are the fires really in the bathroom?)

This rather large issue aside, the text is quite repetitive without offering elaboration. The suggestion to have students revise their work comes up again and again without much suggestion how. Lots of teachers use revision, and there are myriad ways to approach this. This is perhaps why it's a shame the journalist author left teachers out of the equation.

Some of the excerpts from kids are so brief and unclear that it seems to also ghettoize the dialect and casual statements of what seems like a usually articulate group of children. Cushman throws around the cultural capital of New York City public schools without a lot of basis. Out of 18 children interviewed, only five are from New York - and some of these attend "small" and possibly private schools. What this book perhaps more aptly addresses is a journalist's view of suburban teaching in Rhode Island and California, where most of her interviewees are students.

Overall a somewhat disappointing read - educators: please consider a wealth of texts from actual teachers and those within legitimately urban environments like yourselves.
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on August 30, 2005
I was in the bookstore browsing and found this book. I've been teaching college students for over ten years, but only began teaching community college four years ago, and thus feel a bit at sea sometimes with the "high school mentality." This book contains some things that are obvious to those who have been teaching for a long time, but it's almost certain that at least one or two of the views of the kids will be helpful and will translate directly into classroom practice in a way that few books on teaching do.

The insights this book provides into what highschools are like, especially for kids in large city schools, are invaluable. I was surprised to find myself already following a piece of advice I read in the book in the classroom the next day. Definetely worth reading.
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on June 28, 2008
I initially read this book as a study group member. I subsequently bought 5 more copies to share with teachers. The words of wisdom from these students would benefit any first time teacher from Elementary School to High School, and would benefit any teacher who needs a reminder of what to do or not do in order to have a productive mutually respected school year!
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on June 7, 2012
Fires in the Bathroom: Advice for Teachers from High School Students by Kathleen Cushman and various high school students is an excellent book for any beginning teacher entering secondary education. This handy little gem provides valuable insight into classroom management from the prospective of teenagers. Many new teachers are not far from high school age-wise. However, there are many people going back to school for their teaching credentials, who have been out of secondary school for several decades. This book is a definite must for the latter group.
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on August 13, 2013
Intriguing book with the unique insights by students who offer their insights on how they want their teachers to be teach them. I found it to be quite insightful and plan to use the wisdom of these student authors in my own classroom.
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on November 6, 2014
Returning to long-term substitute teaching after retirement and 30 years of public school teaching....I wanted a fresh look at high school students and found this to be thought-provoking and helpful. Helped me create a positive, fresh mindset as I began the school year for a teacher out on maternity leave.
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on July 13, 2014
It's a textbook of learning for high school teachers. These kids have told the adults exactly what is needed for them to be successful high school teachers. Now all the adults need to do is read and follow.
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on May 28, 2011
This is a pretty insightful book. Some of the opinions of the students were a little surprising. I think it's a good book for future teachers to read, it reminds you to see things from a student's perspective.
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on January 26, 2015
Easy reading. Primary research targeted at getting students to speak about what works and doesn't work in the classroom for them. And more specifically on what they expect from teachers, what makes good teachers. The book could have been shorter and just as impactful.
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