Teach Like Your Hair Is On Fire

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Rafe Esquith teaches fifth grade at Hobart Elementary School in California. In his novel, Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire, he reflects on his experiences as a teacher at an inner-city school located in the not so safe side of Los Angeles. Rafe is aware he has to be forceful with his students for them to learn, but he also focuses on their enjoyment of learning in his classroom. Each chapter has useful tips on how to be a successful teacher by incorporating fun activities into the lesson plans and making students want to be involved. To be his best, he learns from other teachers ' mistakes as well as his own. Helping students reach their full potential does not stop in the classroom. Rafe also creates after school programs to show movies…show more content…
In the prologue he says his class, or maybe classrooms in general, are “a world where character matters, hard work is respected, humility is valued, and support for one another is unconditional” (Esquith, 2007, p. 5). Rafe is a true example of Gandhi’s quote, "Be the change you wish to see.” Rafe 's approach for teaching reading, writing and math are different from the state 's expectations. Though he does not drift away from their goal, he believes there are many more meaningful personal goals – joy, passion, and excitement. Rafe considers the student 's point of view and assesses what their weaknesses or strengths are. Such as in reading, he strives to have students make connections with books because with this connection they are more encouraged to keep on reading. He knows each student goes their own pace and allows them to pick books that best suit their reading level. Then in writing, the assignments are individually based, like the “Essay of the Week” and “Monthly Book Report”, and are gone over one-on-one to improve their writing skills as well as any grammatical errors. Even though the state has taken away the grammar books, Rafe makes sure to start off with “grammar exercises” (Esquith, 2007, p. 49). To improve more on writing skills and learn grammar mistakes, he has what is known as a “Dreaded Rewrite” (Esquith, 2007, p. 52). A “Dreaded Rewrite” is when Rafe gives the essay handed in back to the
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