Real Talk for Real Teachers, with Rafe Esquith

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

After more than 30 years as a teacher, Rafe Esquith, can offer plenty of words of wisdom and advice for other teachers coping with the overwhelming challenges of the classroom and beyond. His book Real Talk for Real Teachers mixes instructive stories with useful in-class advice for new teachers and veteran educators.


Rafe Esquith

Comments [12]

Gloria Gosse from Park Ridge, NJ

I am not a teacher but I was enchanted by everything Mr. Esquith had to say. His methods and styles of teaching were used by the best teachers my two sons had in elementary and high school. The teachers expected their best, and did not use learning disabilities as an excuse for not doing work. They used it to learn how my sons learned, and taught them what they needed to move on. I am going to go back and listen to the entire broadcast, and recommend it to every teacher I know.

Jul. 25 2013 02:20 PM
Kate from Greater Philadelphia

To Independent_Noach, you present a false choice, somewhat like asking, "Do you beat your wife? No? When did you stop?" The option isn't to make a tough choice, but rather, cut military spending, special interest lobby spending (such as aid to farmers), and other immoral economic decisions that are made daily in this country.

Jul. 25 2013 12:01 AM

In response to Mr. Esquith's comments about cutting arts funding, I would like to ask him:

If you were faced with having to work within a given, limited budget that forced you to make tough choices, what things /would/ you cut before you would cut arts?

Medicare? Medicaid? Food stamps (SNAP)?

Regulatory agencies that play a vital role in protecting the public such as the FDA, USDA or EPA?

What about basic "three-R" education? (Reading, (a)'rithmetic, (w)'riting)

Services that the elderly or disabled depend-upon?

Would you find any of these more expendable than arts?

Isn't this one of the very first lessons that children must be taught: about having to make tough choices? The need to /prioritize/? That in the real world, one can never have /everything/ one wants or even /needs/?

And don't tell me that you would increase the budget. That would be a cop-out. In this hypothetical, that is not an option, just as it often is not in the real world. This likely includes the situation that Anthony Weiner was addressing in the statement that was attributed to him by Mr. Lopate. All too easy from where you sit, Mr. Esquith, to castigate someone who is actually faced with having to make tough decisions about where to make cuts.

(Of course, given both the tone in which Mr. Lopate quoted Weiner, as well as past comments on arts funding from Mr. Lopate himself*, I didn't exactly expect him to challenge Esquith's smug, glib comments.
*An example can be heard in a segment that aired on February 19th, in which Mr. Lopate lamented funding to the arts being "first on the chopping block" when governments deem it necessary to make cuts:

On the comment page for that segment, I posed the same question to Mr. Lopate that I did here to Mr. Esquith, above.)

Jul. 24 2013 03:28 PM
Larry Dell from East Orange, NJ

Can you get a message to Mr. Esquith? I work with an non-profit that intends to bring musicians and artists into NYC area schools starting in Sept. and we're looking to make connections with schools. I'd love to meet with his Principal to determine if he would be interested in what we have to offer. Can he arrange a meeting?

Jul. 24 2013 12:50 PM
Paul Kaplan from Bayside

I am a retired teacher - would love to have the opportunity to share my expertise which is very congruent to your approach - I was a theater and visual arts teacher here in New York City for 30+ years - My expertise is being lost because the mentoring program has been decimated. New Teachers will fall by the wayside if they do not receive the support from teachers who think and act like you.

Jul. 24 2013 12:40 PM
Amy from Manhattan

I'm bothered by the reference to "lazy students." I hope the first step is questioning whether it's really laziness or some other problem that the teacher (& maybe the parents) is perceiving as laziness. Remember when students w/dyslexia were told they weren't trying hard enough?

Jul. 24 2013 12:34 PM

The NYC public school system was built to discourage forming a bond with your students. Every time I got the students to trust me, to like me, to want to learn, my department head or principal would walk in and sternly address the students about some unnecessary rule I was letting them break (such as wearing hats in class) to gain their trust. And then all good will was out the window.

Jul. 24 2013 12:34 PM
Nick from UWS

"We hope you die." Kids are basically sociopathic monsters...this is why I disliked the other kids in school. I HATED school, being locked up with a bunch of little bastards every single day.

Jul. 24 2013 12:31 PM
Guy from NYC

Please ask guest what overburdened teachers and misinformed public can possibly do to combat the high stakes testing, corporate backed, historically destructive "reform" movement that now dominates the national education discussion backed by big money. Ask what he has done as a high profile, decorated teacher to help teachers re-gain a voice in this climate.

Jul. 24 2013 12:24 PM

Please address:

1.) The claim that in many cases, boys are medicated (with Ritalin and the like) for nothing more than exhibiting the natural aggression that is just part of /being a boy/?

2.) The ways in which co-education, restricts the freedom and ability of boys to be /boys/; to express natural male aggression; to wrestle, roughhouse, and compete with each other athletically to their full ability. Within obvious limits, these are necessary parts of healthy male development.

(Gender-integrated sports are, obviously, even worse in this regard. Pitting boys and girls against each other in athletic activities is unfair and harmful, in a number of ways, to both sexes.)

Jul. 24 2013 12:19 PM

"silently wait," I meant to type.

Jul. 24 2013 12:12 PM

The best advice I got was that if you stand in front of the classroom and silently, eventually the students will quiet down (though it may take the entire class time; but then they come in the next day well-behaved). I also never let them know my first name---it would give them too much power.

Jul. 24 2013 12:10 PM

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