Back to School – Teacher Stories and Classroom Tales for Adults

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Article in Themes category.

This list contains both narrative non-fiction and fiction books for various adult reading tastes, all centered around an autumnal “Back to School” feeling.

Memoirs and Nonfiction

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  • Admission, by Jean Korelitz - 38-year-old Portia Nathan hides behind her career as a Princeton University admissions officer and her dependable domestic life. Her reluctance to confront the truth is suddenly overwhelmed by the resurfacing of a life-altering decision, and Portia decide whether to make her own ultimate admission.
  • Ms. Hempel Chronicles, by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum - Ms. Beatrice Hempel, new to teaching, new to the school, newly engaged, and newly bereft of her idiosyncratic father, struggles to figure out what is expected of her in life and at work.
I thought this one of the best-written and deeply felt fictional accounts novels I've ever read. Though all the chapters could work as short stories, the characters and chronology are recorded carefully enough and Ms. Hempel's development make it a real novel. The constant oscillation of the writer's view (from Ms. Hempel s a teacher to her recollections of her life as a student and daughter) make it amazingly rich for such a short book. --Bob Bjoring 20:54, 27 September 2009 (EDT)

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For Fun

  • Brighten the Corner Where You Are, by Fred Chappell - recounts the adventures of a North Carolina high school teacher.
  • Straight Man, by Richard Russo - During one tortuous week, Hank Devereaux, head of the English department at the state university in Pennsylvania, has his nose slashed by a feminist poet, finds his secretary is a better writer than he is, threatens wild fowl, and confronts his father.

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For Inspiration

  • Christy, by Catherine Marshall - In the year 1912, 19-year-old Christy decides to leave home and teach school in a remote section of the Smoky Mountains.
  • The Girl of the Limberlost, by Gene Stratton Porter - An impoverished young girl growing up on the edge of the Limberlost swamp in Indiana, discovers the value of education.

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  • The Crazy School, by Cornelia Read. Tough-talking former debutante Madeline Dare navigates the darker side of her tenure at a boarding school for emotionally disturbed teens.
  • The Headmaster’s Wife, by Jane Haddam - When a teenage student is found hanging in his room after rumors circulate about his illicit affair with the headmaster's wife, retired FBI agent Gregor Demarkian is called in on behalf of the boy's roommate to investigate the death.
  • Master of the Delta, by Thomas H. Cook - Returning home to his father's estate in 1954 Mississippi to take a job teaching at the local high school, Jack Branch befriends Eddie, one of his students and the son of a notorious local murderer, but his efforts on Eddie's behalf could have deadly consequences.

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