"Celebrate a demanding, essential & noble profession."

Now available!

20 true stories about what it takes to be a teacher.

Every day in every classroom, teachers take on incredible challenges. Some are big, like bridging significant cultural differences, moving back into a school building after a shooting, or learning how to successfully navigate delicate institutional politics. Others are smaller, like keeping first graders on task, or figuring out how to keep teenagers from cussing all the time. Whether in the Mississippi Delta or Malawi; Alaska or Los Angeles; whether in their first day or their tenth year on the job—every day, educators reach deep to find strength and grace they didn’t know they had.

The lessons don’t always come easy, but these riveting, funny, inspirational, and sometimes shocking stories provide real insight into the hearts and minds of those who teach and those who have been taught.

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Sara Ackerman // Anne P. Beatty // Jane Bernstein // Cynthia Miller Coffel // Michael Copperman // Lynn DeFilippo // Marcia DeSanctis // Caitlin Dwyer // Chris Girman // Lee Gutkind // Jahana Hayes // Leslie Hill // Mary Ann Hutcheson // A. V. Klotz // Shannon LeBlanc // Kristin Leclaire // Deborah Meltvedt // Karen Kelley Perkins // Kate Ver Ploeg // Anne Raeff // Irvin Scott // Lori D. Ungemah // Sherri Wright


Praise for What I Didn't Know

"These true stories of mistakes and triumphs, memorable students and classroom challenges celebrate a demanding, essential, and noble profession.

"The best first-person account of teaching I’ve ever read. The stories these educators tell are essential reading for anyone who seeks to understand how the politics of educational policy shake out in the daily lives of teachers."
-Jessica Lahey, author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed

"Candid accounts of what is happening in the intimate spaces of classrooms across the country—microcosms of the issues that simmer below the surface of our world at large."
-Brenda Miller, co-author of Tell It Slant: Creating, Refining, and Publishing Creative Nonfiction

"Essential preparation for the headaches, heartaches, and choke-up-thinking-about-them joys of this underappreciated profession."
-John Owens, author of Confessions of a Bad Teacher

"Eschews the narratives of the current education debate and gets to the depth of teaching."
-Jose Vilson, author of This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education

"Want to know why 50% of teachers quit? Read this book! Want to know why the other 50% stay? Read this book!"
-Jane Morris, bestselling author of Teacher Misery: Helicopter Parents, Special Snowflakes & Other BS