A “Must Read of 2023” — The Next Big Idea Club
“A poignant, behind-the-scenes exploration of America’s public schools focused on three teachers in different regions of the country.” “Incisive…. eye-opening.… deeply researched and impressive.” STARRED REVIEW— Publishers Weekly, Review of the Day
“An important and eye-opening book that all parents, teachers, and educational administrators should read.” STARRED REVIEW— Kirkus Reviews
A riveting year-in-the-life account of three teachers, combined with reporting that reveals what’s really going on behind school doors
Alexandra Robbins goes behind the scenes to tell the true, sometimes shocking, always inspirational stories of three teachers as they navigate a year in the classroom. She follows Penny, a southern middle school math teacher who grappled with a toxic staff clique at the big school in a small town; Miguel, a special ed teacher in the western United States who fought for his students both as an educator and as an activist; and Rebecca, an East Coast elementary school teacher who struggled to schedule and define a life outside of school. Robbins also interviewed hundreds of other teachers nationwide who share their secrets, dramas, and joys.
Interspersed among the teachers’ stories—a seeming scandal, a fourth-grade whodunit, and teacher confessions—are hard-hitting essays featuring cutting-edge reporting on the biggest issues facing teachers today, such as school violence; outrageous parent behavior; inadequate support, staffing, and resources coupled with unrealistic mounting demands; the “myth” of teacher burnout; the COVID-19 pandemic; and ways all of us can help the professionals who are central both to the lives of our children and the heart of our communities.
“A remarkable piece of storytelling that weaves together the personal trials (and triumphs) of individual teachers with extraordinary reporting about the real, and often toxic, work conditions facing this critical profession. As the son of a high-school teacher, the stories struck a personal chord. As a parent, they make me want to thank a teacher every day. And as a citizen, they are a call to arms to save the future of our country by lifting up the profession that molds and shapes our most important asset—our children.” – Jeffrey Selingo, New York Times bestselling author of Who Gets In and Why and There Is Life After College
“It was thrilling to read THE TEACHERS. I can’t remember another book that is so deeply informed about the nobility, the rewards, and the struggles of the teaching profession. It is a beautiful testimony to the men and women who shape the next generation of Americans, usually without the public support and resources they need and deserve.” – Diane Ravitch, Historian, Author, former Assistant Secretary of Education
“As a parent, I wonder about what my child’s teachers might be really going through. In The Teachers, the answer is by turns inspiring, heartbreaking and maddening. Robbins pulls back the veil on the lives of the teachers shaping who our kids are becoming — and the system that so often undermines their efforts. This book will not only make you smarter about the state of American teachers, but it will ignite you to act. Through the eyes of the teachers we come to know intimately in this book, the Teachers will change the way you think about American education.” – Rachel Simmons, New York Times bestselling author of Odd Girl Out
“This thoughtful, page-turning work gives insight into the day-to-day lives and concerns of teachers.” – Library Journal