Download Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom Audiobook

Blackboard: A Personal History of the Classroom Audiobook, by Lewis Buzbee Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Lewis Buzbee Narrator: Mike Chamberlain Publisher: Dreamscape Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2014 ISBN: 9781629239897
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In Blackboard, Lewis Buzbee looks back over a lifetime of experiences in schools and classrooms, from kindergarten to college and beyond. He offers fascinating histories of the key ideas informing educational practice over the centuries, which have shaped everything from class size to the layout of desks and chairs.

Buzbee deftly weaves his own biography into this overview, approaching his subject as a student, a father, and a teacher. In doing so, he offers a moving personal testament to how he, an “average student” in danger of flunking out of high school, became the first in his family to graduate from college. He credits his success to the well-funded California public school system and bemoans the terrible price the state is paying as a result of funding being cut from today’s budgets. For Buzbee, the blackboard is a precious window into the wider world—one which we ignore at our peril.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “To find a silver lining in even the most embarrassing, most angst-filled moments of your school years? Such a thing seemed impossible for even the most wistful of people, until I read Lewis Buzbee’s Blackboard…Many readers…will gladly follow him on his journey.”


  • “Meandering through [Buzbee’s] sunny book feels fairly hypnotic—then he hits you with the epilogue in which he gets down to the business of saying, ‘Look, you and I had it good back in the day. Don’t our kids deserve what we had?’…I hope more voices will join in the conversation about the state of public schools. Blackboard gives us a place to start—by recalling our own experiences in school.”

    Kansas City Star

  • “One needn’t subscribe to [Buzbee’s] agenda to appreciate the lasting value of the kind of education he portrays with affection and insight in this appealing book.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “Buzbee’s affectionate account [is] a subtle, sharply etched critique of contemporary public education…Deeply affectionate toward teachers, harshly critical of budget cuts, the book offers an eloquent, important reminder (which in a perfect world would inform policy) about the nature of school.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Provides a bracing rejoinder to the didactic, data-driven books from policy gurus and social scientists…From the layout of schools to the distinction between ‘middle school’ and ‘junior high school,’ Buzbee spreads engaging prose across the pages, providing both a reminiscence of better days and a considered examination of the assumptions we all make about what does—and does not—constitute a quality education…A welcome book on the importance of education for all.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Buzbee’s experiences as a learner and a teacher will resonate with both audiences and provide hope to others who were considered average and aspired to be successful.”

    Library Journal

  • “Buzbee describes himself as an average student in the California school system, destined for a life of no particular note or value had it not been for the intervention of several teachers…From the perspective of former student, teacher, and parent, Buzbee offers a keen look at the politics, economics, and sociology of how school has evolved and the history of school developments from textbooks to writing tools to blackboards…This is a loving and probing look at the social and emotional meaning of school.”


  • “Combining a memoir with something more formal always runs the risk of sounding uneven—alternating between informal and pedantic—but Buzbee, thankfully, avoids this pitfall. This balance is reflected in Mike Chamberlain’s performance, an offering of personable tone and nuanced diction. This last is especially important to listeners who may not have the same passion for educational history and philosophy that Buzbee brings to the table. As any experienced educator (like Buzbee) knows, presentation is just as important as content, and Chamberlain’s narration is consistently enjoyable, giving voice to the humor and wisdom of the text.”


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About the Author

Lewis Buzbee has been writing since he was fifteen. A native Californian, he lives in San Francisco with his wife and daughter.

About the Narrator

Mike Chamberlain is an actor and voice-over performer in Los Angeles whose audiobook narration has won several AudioFile Earphones Awards. His voice credits range from radio commercials and television narration to animation and video game characters. Stage trained at Boston College, he has performed works from Shakespeare and the classics to contemporary drama and comedy.