Rafe Esquith, who made a splash in 2007 with “Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire,” is still teaching in the Los Angeles public school system — when we spoke with him, Esquith was in a hotel room preparing to take his fifth-graders diving in the Pacific with staff from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Despite a second career as an author and public speaker, you get the sense immediately that Esquith’s real work is still with the kids he teaches.
“Real Talk for Real Teachers,” Esquith’s latest book, is for his fellow laborers in the classroom. “I wrote this book to pick teachers up,” the award-winning educator told me, saying he gets questions every day “from good people who’ve been teaching five, 10 years, and they’re incredibly frustrated. One, because the system is broken. And also it’s tough when you pick up the paper every day and you read that you’re doing a terrible job as a teacher, and the schools are failing, and you are to blame for all of society’s ills.”