Chapter 1: The Headmaster
On a Saturday morning in the spring of 1964, Sue and I each drop a nickel into the machine and board the Gold Star Mother, the ferry that will take us from Manhattan to Staten Island. In the fall, we’ll start teaching on Staten Island, and we need to find a place to live. Before sitting down on an outside bench, I buy a hot dog heaped with sauerkraut. It’s small and slightly gray. It looks tired and doesn’t taste too good. I seem to recall that a few years ago, a Belgian tourist had encountered a human knuckle inside one of these ferry wieners. I lob the rest over the side just as we chug past the Statue of Liberty
... Read more
What People Are Saying:
"Timely, instructive, and inspirational, Inside Job provides a rich landscape to view the messiness, complexity, and joy of teaching as a transformative process. Bob Boone is a masterful storyteller whose compelling narrative captures the essence of what good teaching is about -- engaging the mind and connecting with the heart."
-Dick Streedain, Professor of Educational Leadership Studies, National-Louis University
"Bob Boone's Inside Job is an engaging, immensely readable, inspiring personal account of his lifetime committed to teaching and a love of writing. His memoir reads like a good novel. Moving and entertaining, it also coveys the principles and practicalities by which education and community are achieved. It's the sort of book that, while looking squarely at the difficulties and challenges that parents, teachers, and students face, makes one feel better about life."
-Tom Jenks, editor (with Raymond Carver) of American Short Story Masterpieces
"Anyone interested in the field of education should learn much from this candid, captivating, and insightful story of one teacher's evolution."
-Christopher Edgar, Publications Director, Teachers & Writers
"Bob Boone's journey from novice to veteran is honest, funny, enlightening, and important in what it tells us about education in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The reader winces at Boone's mistakes and cheers when he gets it right, which is usually when he listens to the students and gives them space to learn."
-S.L. Wisenberg, author, Holocaust Girls: History, Memory & Other Obsessions
Sunday, March 7, 2004
by Mark Luce
In a thirty year career that has taken him from public to private schools, tony suburbs to the broken sidewalks of Cabrini-Green, Robert Boone has constantly and consistently proven that he is the kind of teacher whom students - and parents - dream of.
In his charming, passionate and wonderfully written book "Inside Job: A Life in Teaching," Boone takes readers on a whirlwind tour of three decades on the front lines of education, recounting the battles, the mistakes, and - most telling - the n when the students' eyes sparkle and smile with the confidence of getting it."
Composed of vignettes that cover Boone's professional wanderings, the book continually entertains with Boone's infectious mix of optimism and innovative approaches to teaching writing. There's a hilarious section about Boone trying to direct a junior high production of "A Christmas Carol," and the surprising results of having blue-chip, inner-city Chicago hoopsters write before they can participate in summer league games.
Boone has led cross-cultural exchanges in Germany, taught GED night school classes and helped police officers learn to write better.
He currently runs Young Chicago Authors, a program he funded to bring together Chicago youths in a creative, rigorous environment dedicated to writing styles of all stripes.
What's so striking about Boone is his refreshing honesty and refusal to cave in to the naysayers who claim that children neither want to write nor will take the time to do it well. As a teacher of literature, I found "Inside Job" to be more use than any dry pedagogical text. Boone tells it like it is, likes to laugh, care about his students, pushes boundaries and shows a love of teaching that simply inspires.