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The Teachers: A Year Inside America's Most Vulnerable, Important Profession (Hardcover)
A riveting, must-read, year-in-the-life account of three teachers, combined with reporting that reveals what’s really going on behind school doors, by New York Times bestselling author and education expert Alexandra Robbins.
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.
About the Author
Alexandra Robbins, the author of five New York Times bestselling books and a Goodreads Best Nonfiction Book of the Year, is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been honored for “Distinguished Service to Public Education.” She has written for several publications, including The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The Atlantic, and has appeared on hundreds of television shows, including 60 Minutes, Today, CBS Mornings, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The View, and The Colbert Report.
“Nonfiction to read this spring…. “Teachers” reads like a great liberal arts lesson, with plenty of research to back up the book’s implications.” —The New York Times
"Never before have I read any work that so clearly depicts the current realities of teaching in America’s public schools…for those who seek a fuller understanding of what educators are coping with these days, it should prove invaluable. And for those who most need to read it — those in a position to effect change in the lives of conscientious and talented teachers who are considering abandoning the profession — one can only hope that its message will be heeded before it is too late.” —Washington Post
"[A] call to action that as a nation, as communities, we owe our teachers much more than we are giving” —Associated Press
“The Teachers is a must read for all non-teachers who want to better understand the profession and for all teachers who want to feel seen. It’s an extraordinary work that combines broad scope, tight focus, telling details, and the voices of dozens and dozens of actual teachers.” —Forbes
"Hottest new book release.... journalist Robbins' book offers a behind-the-scenes, year-in-the-life account of three teachers and their joys and challenges." —USA Today
“This deeply researched and impressive study brings home the fact that America underinvests in the education of its children—and that teachers step in to fill the gaps.” —Publishers Weekly (STARRED REVIEW)
"An important and eye-opening book that all parents, teachers, and educational administrators should read." —Kirkus (STARRED REVIEW)
"This thoughtful, page-turning work gives insight into the day-to-day lives and concerns of teachers, both inside and outside of their work…VERDICT This involving look at the teaching profession is recommended for any library with an education collection and where there is community interest.” —Library Journal
“The Teachers is engaging and impecccably researched.... [It] accomplishes many things — bringing readers into classrooms, showing how politics affect teachers, exposing how awful things like book banning have gotten — but two of its biggest triumphs are eviscerating popular misconceptions about the profession and showing the colossal passion that keeps teachers going…The Teachers is an exposé, sure, but it's also a call to action, and our collective future is at stake.” —NPR
"Robbins is an unflinching and unapologetic advocate for America’s 4,007,908 K-12 teachers."
—Atlanta Journal Constitution
"A riveting, must-read, year-in-the-life account of three teachers, combined with reporting that reveals what’s really going on behind school doors." —Next Big Idea Club
"It should honestly be required reading.... it’s clear that Robbins understands how to weave research and story into a compelling narrative about the education crisis in America.... But even more critically, Robbins gets teachers." —We Are Teachers
"This cutting-edge reporting offers insight into the biggest issues facing teachers today." —Daily Kos
"Robbins use[s] anecdotes from her subjects’ professional and private lives, interviews with others in the profession, and in this case her own experience working as a substitute at a middle school, to illustrate the myriad challenges teachers face." —Town and Country
"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
"It was literally 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 and national bestselling author of The Death and Life of the Great American School System
"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, national bestselling author of Odd Girl Out
"Phenomenal" —Professional Book Nerds
“Do not miss this book…. An encouraging and uplifting read, capturing how teachers find ways to rise and meet the many challenges they face… Robbins captures not just the human reality of teaching, but the ways in which teaching is a deeply human endeavor, centering on the best of what human beings can be. Or to put it another way, in my fifth year of retirement, nothing has made me miss the classroom more than reading this book." —Peter Greene, Curmudgucation