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Extended Audio Sample Letters to a Young Teacher, by Jonathan Kozol Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (994 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonathan Kozol Narrator: David Drummond Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2007 ISBN: 9781400175468
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This is the book for readers of Jonathan Kozol’s previous works on education, including The Shame of the Nation and On Being a Teacher; for readers of memoirs like Frank McCourt’s Teacher Man; for new teachers looking for guidance and inspiration; and for educators, administrators, and children’s advocates of all levels of experience.

From the award-winning author of bestsellers Shame of the Nation, Savage Inequalities, Amazing Grace, Death at an Early Age, and Ordinary Resurrections, Jonathan Kozol’s most personally insightful and revealing work to date takes the form of encouraging letters to Francesca, a young classroom teacher, offering advice, personal stories, and a shared sense of outrage at the inadequacies of America’s educational system.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Kozol’s love for his students is as joyful and genuine as his critiques of the system are severe. He doesn’t pull punches.”

    Washington Post

  • “[Charts] the positive tension between his lifelong indignation and the renewable joy of being in the classroom, something essential to all good teaching.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Overall, the book will delight and encourage first-year (or for that matter, fortieth-year) teachers who need Kozol’s reminders of the ways that their beautiful profession can bring joy and beauty, mystery and mischievous delight into the hearts of little people in their years of greatest curiosity. But his encouraging words rarely lapse into treacle. In fact, he offers tough observations on American education addressed to a larger audience. His forceful opinions are convincingly argued.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “His letters offer a revealing, heartfelt look at the state of education and his own joy and agony in reporting on it. The letters provoke recollections of his early days as a teacher and, as a reporter, the humbling experience of visiting classes and maintaining relationships with the people on the frontlines of teaching, while he observes and writes. Kozol offers encouragement, advice, reflection, and admiration for all the teachers like Francesca, who pour their souls into their jobs. The letters explore the challenges of teaching in the inner cities: bureaucracies and standardized tests that take the creativity out of teaching; distrustful, defiant children who take away time and attention from those who want to learn; the heartbreaking irony of teaching diversity in schools that are clearly racially segregated. A beautiful book that offers an intimate look at the challenges and joys of teaching and one that will inspire and inform teachers and all those interested in public education.”

    Booklist

  • “In lovingly supportive letters to a young woman on her first job as a first grade teacher, Kozol brings us heartwarming stories of the magic of kids who delight in words like ‘wiggly’ and ‘wobbly,’ ‘bamboozle’ and ‘persnickety’–and who could resist a child called Pineapple? This remarkable book is a testament to teachers who not only respect and advocate for children on a daily basis but who are the necessary guardians of the spirit. Every citizen who cares about the future of our children ought to read this.”

    Eric Carle, author of The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jeffrey Howard | 2/15/2014

    " Had more of a political agenda than good sound advice to those considering the field of education. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Aileen | 2/11/2014

    " I might feel more inspired if I weren't already a teacher and familiar with the many obstacles we must deal with. Reading the book makes me feel so overwhelmed at times. Where's the book of solutions? "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimberly | 2/4/2014

    " I am currently reading this book for my freshmen sem. class for college. It has opened my eyes to so many things wrong with our school system today and how the people who this is effecting have no idea how to fight back aganist the goverment who is doing it to them. It has made me realize how lucky I am to have attended school where I did. It has also made me wonder if I am prepared for this next step in my life "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Kari | 1/31/2014

    " Some good stuff is presented in the book. I was hoping for some more solutions and less preachiness. Will Francesca still be the enthusiastic teacher in 20 years, will she become burned out and fall victim to mediocre teaching or will she leave her elementary classroom and try to impart her knowledge on other teachers like she knows what they are going through even though her own elementary teaching days were short-lived. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Gerard | 1/25/2014

    " this was ok, it would be hard to recommend to someone mostly for it's preaching to the choir aim, and probably won't impress anyone who's not already a fan. i am a kozol fan, but this was really just ok. lots of subordinate clauses, i mean many, just like all over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rachel | 1/19/2014

    " I listened to this in the car driving to Albuquerque. What an inspiring take on education and how we need to do things differently to better serve our kids. I need to read everything he's written. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kerry | 1/18/2014

    " This book is a collection of letters Jonathan Kozol sent to a first year teacher. The teacher worked in a public school in inner-city Boston. The subjects of the letters deal with subjects such as diversity, uninvolved parents, difficult administrations, voucher programs, and so on. It is an interesting read for those in the education field or those interested in it. Kozol is a very educated, inspiring, passionate man. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meghan | 1/9/2014

    " Nice overview of the issues currently facing American public schools. It samples greatly from Kozol's other work. Though creative, I didn't love the one-sided letter format of the book. I also think he glazed over the emotion and difficulties faced by a first-year teacher and resorted to the often-rehashed notion that if you are motivated enough and care about your students enough, then you should see clear gains abounding. I did like that "Francesca," the recipient of his letters clarifies this in the book's conclusion. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mallory | 1/8/2014

    " I agree that Kozel's tone is self-congratulatory throughout. He also simply laments upon situations and does not propose any concrete solutions. His prose is laced with contempt for any person who may deign to disagree with him. On the surface he argues against indoctrination for students, yet used phrases akin to molding them into "agents of change." I agree, but present all viewpoints and allow them to choose that change. Choice does not seem like it has a place in this version of education. I would be terrified to have him 'educate' my students. His politics are far too heavy handed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emily | 1/2/2014

    " SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO inspiring. Made me rethink my life plans and goals all over again: teaching here I come.... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Siobhan | 11/26/2013

    " I started this and had to put it down because I got too depressed that I'm not as good a teacher as Francesca or Kozol are/were. My sister told me it gets better and more realistic, so I guess I'll finish it and edit my review. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 S | 11/20/2013

    " If you know a new teacher, this book will make a wonderful gift for him/her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 11/6/2013

    " A nice account of some of the issues new teachers face. Lots of pertinent info about schools and the public education system, especially focusing on inner city schools in the Northeast. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 11/1/2013

    " Excellent for anyone who's thinking ab/ becoming a teacher. Paints an idealistic picture, but does so with inspiration. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gregory Anderson | 9/24/2013

    " I read this book for my Teaching Profession class. Kozol offers very sound and intelligent advice for young, future or new teachers. He also continues to hit upon the sad reality of segregation in the United States education system. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley (angelashly) | 6/30/2013

    " This book gave me hope that even though I have not taken any teaching classes yet (I want to bad) that I can still be a good teacher. I of course don't know how his techniques work in an actual classroom, but I enjoyed the book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nina | 6/29/2013

    " must read for new teachers "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Emily | 11/17/2012

    " Formatted as letters to a young teacher, Kozol introduces many of the issues facing public schools today. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 The Lau Azure Door | 7/20/2012

    " One of the best books about being a teacher. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marsha | 5/18/2012

    " Book number two for FOED 7060 class - more meat to this one than ZEN - had some agreeable ideas but a little harsh on the conservative Americans - lots of good food for thought "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sasha | 5/16/2012

    " I love reading Jonathan Kozol's books. He has some fanatical ideas about education but writes beautifully about some of the very true inequalities that education faces today. Another fantastic book by him! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rachael | 2/29/2012

    " Anyone who works with youth needs to read this book - honest and inspiring - I loved every word! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Carrie | 7/1/2011

    " I actually gave it one star, but I couldn't even finish the book, so really I shouldn't rate it. It was just too difficult to keep reading. Not enough interest for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 2/26/2011

    " Must read for first year teachers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bernando | 1/16/2011

    " You can tell he has been in the teaching business for some time. I like the candid comments he has on the politics now entering the schools, in particular the inner-city. A quick easy read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Diana | 12/27/2010

    " So far it is interesting for me as I consider making a move into classroom teaching in the future. Lots of real life stories!!! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ashley | 8/18/2010

    " Just read The Shame of the Nation, the content from this book comes from there, and Shame is more comprehensive. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 8/16/2010

    " Kozol has excellent ideas on repairing segregated inner city schools... interesting topics to explore for us folks in the education world. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Andrew | 7/22/2010

    " What I thought would be a reflection on being a young teacher turned out to be an angry, unfounded rant.

    Savage inequalities was much better "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nicole | 6/15/2010

    " If you're a teacher, or support public education, and are exhausted with the testing-frenzied atmosphere that seems to be killing the spirit of learning, I highly recommend this book. I just finished it today, and feel as though I have an ally in high places. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Joelle | 6/12/2010

    " Bid too "educational" for a quick read but enlightening nonetheless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Melissa | 2/8/2010

    " Excellent for anyone who's thinking ab/ becoming a teacher. Paints an idealistic picture, but does so with inspiration. "

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