Rafe Esquith

NOTE: This blog entry originally appeared in October of 2009

By Ariana Pekary, producer

Bob originally interviewed Rafe Esquith in 2007 for his book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, in which Esquith revealed the tactics that have helped turn his disadvantaged, inner city, first generation fifth graders into Ivy League graduates. Then Bob interviewed him for our education series.  Esquith, who is the only school teacher ever to receive the president’s National Medal of the Arts, was an ideal person to comment on the types of reforms we’d been discussing throughout that series. He was eager to chime in on issues like No Child Left Behind, standardized testing, parental involvement, and teacher tenure – and I for one was anxious to hear what he had to say.

Now, Esquith is back on the show to discuss his second book. This one is for parents and is titled Lighting Their Fires: Raising Extraordinary Children in a Mixed-up, Muddled-up, Shook-up World.  Rafe Esquith is a teacher I wish I had had in the fifth grade – that’s not to disparage any of my wonderful fifth grade teachers….Mrs. Wirt, you were the best! – but he is particularly engaging and knows how to motivate students.  Or rather he knows how to get students to motivate themselves.  I enjoyed reading his book as much for myself as for any child (student) I might (but probably won’t) have in the future. 

As a reminder, Rafe was the teacher featured in the Hobart Shakespeareans documentary that aired on PBS.  To see that program, click here.

For current information about the Hobart Shakespeareans, click here.


Listen to Bob's Intervew with Rafe Esquith