Rafe Esquith the author of Teach like your Hair’s on Fire, always seems to put the children he teaches first. He has been referred to by the Washington Post as “the world’s most famous teacher” (Deloza, 2014). He is known for his incredible dedication and commitment to the children he teaches (Deloza, 2014). From the very beginning, his book allows you to experience, both Esquith’s love of teaching and his journey with Room 56, a classroom, in a struggling neighborhood in Los Angeles. The book is insightful and inspiring, as it connects us with an award winning, selfless and talented teacher, Rafe Esquith and his grade 5 students.
Great teaching requires sacrifice and consistently puts the development of the child first Esquith, after teaching for over 30 years and writing several award winning books, exemplifies this child centered philosophy of teaching. His purpose is to share his dedicated and selfless approach to teaching with teachers, in the hope that they too, will be inspired ‘to teach like their hair is on fire.’ He believes that commitment to each individual student is essential. As a role model, he stresses the importance of being dependable and providing an atmosphere that is safe and that promotes the love of learning. He focusses on values and teaching his students to respect themselves and others, to be kind and to always work hard (Esquith, 2007). With Esquith’s simple motto of, “be nice, work hard and there are no shortcuts, in the classroom” (Esquith,2007), it is easy to see why his students are so happy and successful.
In the first section of Esquith’s book, There’s no Place Like Home, Esquith focuses on how Room 56 creates a safe haven, and provides children with shelter from the storm.
“That guests comment more on not the academic ability of his classroom, they come away shaking their heads over something else: the culture of the classroom. It’s calm. It is incredibly civil. It’s an oasis. But something is missing. Ironically, Room 56 is a special space not because of what it has, but because of what is missing: fear” (5).
Esquith feels discipline must be fair and logical and that every student is responsible for their learning. As you read the book, it is clear that his dedication guides the way he teaches his students. It is stated throughout the book, that if we can provide a safe environment and teach students to make choices based on respect, then teachers and students are bound to experience success in the classroom. Students will have a sense of morality and gain the ability to think for themselves. Esquith deems,
“that an effective classroom, must create a sense of belonging, foster mutual respect and trust and that the classrooms must be absent of fear. According to Rafe, “Level 1 thinking is based on fear. Eventually we want our children to behave well not because they fear punishment but because they believe it is right” ( 15).
After sharing his...