Cover image for Inside Mrs. B's Classroom : courage, hope, and learning on Chicago's South Side
Inside Mrs. B's Classroom : courage, hope, and learning on Chicago's South Side
Baldacci, Leslie.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York ; London : McGraw-Hill, [2004]

Physical Description:
xiii, 237 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
LA2317.B138 A3 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A respected journalist turned-teacher reveals what's really happening in America's schools

In 1999, Chicago Sun-Times veteran Leslie Baldacci left her prestigious, twenty-five year career to teach at a public school in one of Chicago's roughest South Side neighborhoods.

As she later commented, "I thought I knew rough. I thought I had answers. I didn't know jack."

But Baldacci never looked back, and the result is Inside Mrs. B's Classroom , a compelling, first-hand narrative from the trenches of the inner-city school system that addresses one of society's most critical issues from gritty, daily personal experience.

An expert on Chicago's massive education reform efforts even before she turned in her press credentials, Baldacci adds an informed, intellectual layer to this insightful, engaging work. In an era in which many people talk about wanting to make a difference, Baldacci has done so. Here she shares the whole picture, from the unrealistic expectations to the surprises--good and bad--that make up education today. Above all, she shows how an individual can, did--and continues to--make a difference in the lives of American children.

Author Notes

Leslie Baldacci is still a classroom teacher and writes for the Chicago Sun-Times .

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

As a journalist for the Chicago Sun-Times for 25 years, Baldacci reported on Chicago's education crises before school reform became popular, and she applauded Mayor Richard M. Daley's efforts to improve contract negotiations with teachers, repair decaying buildings and better the struggling South Side's financial status. Instead of continuing to lobby for amelioration of the situation from behind her desk, Baldacci "turned in [her] press credentials to become a teacher." Since making that initial foray four years ago, she's compassionately demonstrated devotion to her inner city high school special-education students, whose school circumstances a former U. S. education secretary called "an educational disaster" (and which the author herself likens to the sinking of the Titanic). In diary-like prose, Baldacci recounts the apprehensions that plagued her as she applied to become an intern teacher through an alternative certification program whose aim was to address the national teacher shortage. She describes her first day, when she was armed with excitement and anxiety, as a nightmare, noting she "had never seen kids act like that in a classroom with an adult present." With 36 students crammed into her room, Baldacci attempted to impart wisdom while the threads of her students' lives wrapped around her. In addition to teaching, the writer asserts that she learned numerous things from her students, including empathy. Baldacci's book is both beautiful and heartbreaking. It belongs in a "first day kit" for new teachers and deserves a hard look from legislators, school administrators and voters who are considering cutting budgets in school districts across the country. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved