The Teachers: A Year Inside America’s Most Vulnerable, Important Profession

Books on Tape. Mar. 2023. 10:24 hrs. ISBN 9780593671634. $95. ED
Award-winning journalist Robbins (The Nurses) narrates her behind-the-scenes examination of the daily life of teachers. Over a school year, Robbins followed the lives of three teachers from different cities and types of schools. These teachers’ similar experiences showcase systemic problems within America’s public education system. Robbins interviewed teachers, parents, students, and administrators, employing their words and insights to support her narrative. Some content leans heavily into politics, but Robbins’s primary focus is to candidly highlight the struggles teachers face—understaffing, inflexible testing schedules, school violence, and demanding parents—as well as their passion for their profession. Each chapter contains a mix of quotes and essays, with the bulk of the chapter focusing on the three teachers’ stories. In audio, the boundaries between quotes, supplementary essays, and reports are occasionally unclear, which may be confusing for some listeners. Even so, the stories that Robbins shares are impactful—simultaneously heart-wrenching and heartwarming.
VERDICT Through Robbins’s firsthand knowledge of teaching and her investigation into the lives of other teachers, she reveals the harsh realities behind this honorable and challenging profession. A timely, essential listen for teachers and nonteachers alike.
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