No Teachers Left Behind

Non-Fiction - Education
248 Pages
Reviewed on 07/25/2009
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

As I read the first few pages of No Teachers Left Behind, I was reminded of my favorite movie, Grease.  The principal’s morning address reminded me of the principal at Rydel High.  However, the students at Rydel did not have the attitude of today’s students.  The principal at Rydel did not walk all over teacher’s rights.  Having worked in the school system, I know the attitude of most students.  I am more than aware of the volume of work loaded on the faculty.  Most teachers went to school to … teach.  Yet they spend a majority of time meeting government regulations, paper work and required after school activities.

No Teachers Left Behind is an entertaining read.  I found myself laughing—however, It isn’t really funny because much in this book is true.  Principals should back their teachers.  Needs of the students should come first.  Parents should support the teachers.  Unfortunately, we live in the real world where principals do not always back the teachers, those making financial decisions do not always put the students needs first and parents do not always support the teachers.

Like other reviewers, I have mixed emotions.  I see things from two sides.  I’ve seen what the budget cuts did to teachers.  Many used their own money to buy things for their students.  Then again, when my children were younger I volunteered at the school and many teachers did not want volunteer help.

No Teachers Left Behind is written in a unique way.  The author uses several formats to tell the story.  Scenes, poetry, emails, all tell the story that is heavy on HBF Teacher’s heart.  Well done HBF Teacher!  I hope your message is well received.

K. Niemi

No Teachers Left Behind is one of the most interesting books I've read this year. It's one that will make you think about what teachers go through everyday. Of course, this is supposedly a fiction book, and I can only pray that most of the things mentioned in this book don't happen in public schools. I really hope that principals support their teachers and parents appreciate the teachers who nurture their children. Although there are some rotten apples (teachers) on every tree (in every school), there are some wonderful apples on the branches too. No Teachers Left Behind recognizes the frustrations of those who really want to help make the world a better place by working in public education. As a father, I salute those teachers - thank you!

V. Hurst

What an insightful view into our school system! It saddens me to know that teachers who want to help their students so badly are hindered by the very parents of the kids they long to make successful, and also by a corrupt, self-serving school administration. Parents and administrators support your teachers if you truly want to see your children go above and beyond in their educational pursuits. Bravo to HBF! Hang in there!

John Pearson

I have a feeling that non-teachers who read No Teachers Left Behind will come away shaking their heads, saying things like, "That's just too extreme -- there's no way school is like that!" For teachers though, even the most extreme situations in the book are recognized as possible and plausible.

At Vilyon Middle School, Principal Angela Marsh is nothing but rainbows and butterflies -- as long as it's to a best-selling author or a high-dollar donating parent. To her staff, she doesn't stop at stepping on toes; she brings her high heel down on the jugulars. In an early staff-wide email, she says that for the rest of the day, lunches will be held in the classrooms, despite the inconvenience to teachers. Oh, and by the way, she will be off campus having lunch at the Olive Garden.

The book is full of emails like that, with Marsh walking all over teachers' rights but then announcing that she is exempt. While reading them, I thought that's just so extreme, and yet it's not implausible at all! In one of my favorite examples, and energetic young activist teacher has sent out an email asking for support at a Saturday Obama rally. Principal Marsh replies with a message stating two facts: one, politics most definitely have no business at school, and two, emails of a personal nature will be cause for referral and loss of laptop. Turn the page and we find another email from Marsh, informing the entire staff that her daughter's Adventure Troop is selling popcorn which can be ordered in the main office. She ends her email with "PS -- God bless John McCain and the Republican Party."

In between the absurd emails from the principal, there are emails from teachers commenting on the working conditions, short poems that are wonderful, and bursts of narration that set the stage for the endgame.

This book will not have you rolling on the floor in stitches, but it is funny in a different way. I read almost the entire story with a bemused smile, shaking my head, thinking, "That is just spot on."

At the very end of the book, the story turns tragic. This is no spoiler, as it states this fact right on the back cover. By the time the tragedy unfolds, the author has done a great job of making you feel for and genuinely LIKE the handful of characters that may or may not be involved in the final act.

Kudos to Hopeful But Frustrated Teacher for a job well done. Here's hoping that her own principal in real life is not QUITE the monster that Angela Marsh is.

N. Usher

Just reread NO TEACHERS LEFT BEHIND, and to be honest, it made me sigh loudly. Is that what it's really like to be a teacher? If so, my daughters' teachers must be really crazy and have a thing for abuse. Are there really parents who treat teachers like they're underlings? Are administrators so concerned about making themselves look good that they forget that teachers are in the classrooms, and they aren't? That's what HBF Teacher is saying in her book, and scarily, I now must wonder. Despite the fact that this book makes you think, it's a fantastic read. Yes this book is about education, but it's not a preachy book (don't you hate those kind?). HBF Teacher tells this story about middle school teachers in a hugely, engaging way that is both funny yet frighteningly serious when it needs to be. I enjoyed this book so much that I read it twice in two days. It's a quick but astonishing read. Try it; you will not be disappointed.


This book fills in the gaps where others of the same genre barely glance over. It is hard-hitting, truthful, and intense, and, most importantly, it is real. No one can understand what it is truly like to be inside a classroom except those in the trenches, and this author truly understands. For those who want an honest glimpse into the life of a teacher, I highly recommend it.