Pioneer Press: Crystal’s ‘Mr. Rad’ writes about the good, bad, ugly of teaching for first-time educators

By Molly Guthrey
Pioneer Press

It Won't Be Easy (Tom Rademacher)“He’s a good teacher,” said the seventh-grader as she paused outside Mr. Rad’s classroom.

Then the girl walked into Room C102, where Mr. Rad — Tom Rademacher, the 2014 Minnesota Teacher of the Year — was leading a discussion about cultural and individual identity that played off the assigned reading, “American Born Chinese,” an award-winning graphic novel by Gene Luen Yang.

“Is it possible to not have a culture?” a student asked.

“No,” said Rademacher. “A fish is always surrounded by water. It’s hard to step away from your culture.”

“If I’m around all white people,” said another student, “I don’t feel my culture.”

At this moment, Mr. Rad paused to direct his attention to another student who was goofing around by turning an empty backpack into a hat.

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