City Pages: One Minneapolis teacher's brutally honest (slightly unprofessional) tale of surviving public schools

By Tom Rademacher
City Pages

It Won't Be Easy (Tom Rademacher)I started teaching 11 years ago, walking out of a college experience filled with hobbies like reading horrible found poems about tragic events. I landed my dream job in my first year, teaching at an arts magnet school full of weird kids with brilliant brains.

I’d spent years writing essays no one would read and probing research that would never help me to get there, working and reflecting and dreaming of all the ways I was going to be one of those teachers: the natural and inspiring who wore stylish sport coats, whose classroom was a sacred space of literature, of rebellion, of learning.

But nobody told me how hard it was going to be. The truth is, teaching is a goddamn shit-show, a goddamn glorious shit-show, even when it nearly kills you.

So I wrote this book, It Won’t Be Easy: An Exceedingly Honest (and Slightly Unprofessional) Love Letter to Teaching, coming out April 25 on the University of Minnesota Press. It’s the book I wish someone had handed me when I was starting. Or maybe that time in my third year when I almost quit. Or the time that kid threatened to shoot me.

The stories below are excerpts, picked to highlight just how hard it can be, and just how incredibly worth it teaching is.


Read the excerpts at City Pages.