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By ANISHA LAKHANI
Copyright © 2008
All right reserved.
Chapter One Had is only been a year?
I vaguely remembered a desire to become a teacher and a belief that it was the most noble profession on earth. I was going to be Mother Teresa and Angelina Jolie rolled into one, motivated only by the desire to help others. Okay, and maybe wear cute little Rebecca Taylor skirt suits and look good while doing it. How could I have believed that the entire private school system was anything other than absolutely corrupt?
Just before graduation my singular goal had been to convince my parents that becoming a teacher was more important to me than any role I could ever hope to fulfill in my life. Their skepticism and disappointment had only served to further ignite my resolve. Our face-off had, like so many family arguments, been at the kitchen table. The lava had been simmering throughout dinner. The eruption was inevitable.
"I have never been so disappointed in all my life." One simple statement from my father, and I was liquefied. I looked across the table at my mother.
"Mom?" I started tentatively.
"I'm with your father, Anna. Honestly, what do you want me to say?"
"So this is it? This is your chosen profession?" I could swear the table was starting to shake.
"Yes. I'm going to be a teacher." Stay calm, Anna. I willed myself to look my father straight in the eye.
"Like in a school?"
"Yes, Dad, like in an actual school." I didn't get it. Where was all the disappointment and anger coming from? Wasn't this a good thing? Had I said I wanted to be a porn star? Or a poet?
My father's face was ashen.
"With metal detectors? And unions? P.S. pay nothing? P.S. screw you, Dad, for my Ivy League education?"
What?! Here I was, professing my decision to pursue a career that was considered quite possibly the most noble profession on Earth, and my father was ... angry?
"Dad! I have such a passion for it. You should see me in my student-teaching class. I really get these kids and they love me!" It was true. I knew the word passion sounded cheesy, but it was appropriate. For the last two semesters I had been doing my student teaching at P.S. 6 on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Despite the constant supervision of the head teacher, I had basically been teaching a seventh-grade history class. I remembered the look of pain on my students' faces when I had told them we would he learning about the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, and how it had turned to excitement when I had announced that we would be creating rap songs to explain each amendment. A few eyebrows had been raised by teachers who passed my room in the hallway-there was music playing at any given time in my classroom with at least two kids standing on chairs performing their rap-but I got twenty-two initially apathetic students to understand the American Constitution by the unit's end. It was the proudest day of my life.
I took a deep breath and resolved to try a fresh approach.
"Dad, when I teach, I am the best of who I am." It was true. "I am never more proud of myself, more certain of my purpose, than when I'm with my students." He seemed to be softening.
"Anna, do you realize how lucky you are? You are going to graduate from Columbia. You can be ANYTHING. Do you remember how hard it was for all of us to get where we are? Your mother and I worked so that you and your brother could have the education that would allow you to lead comfortable lives ... better lives than ours. One of my greatest achievements, Anna, is that I am in a position to pay for you to go to any law or business school in the country that you get into. Hell, you can skip grad school and I'll start you with an analyst position at Merrill Lynch. We can drive in to work together. Is this making any sense to you? Do you know how much teachers actually make? Less ... than ... a ... gar ... bage ... man." My father said the last five words slowly, as if to chastise me with each syllable.
Before I had a chance to open my mouth, my mother chimed in: "Honey, we love you so much, and truth be told you've had a pretty cushy life so far. You really haven't had to pay for anything substantial. I know you think this is noble-your father and I do, too, but really, Anna, you can teach anytime. Go have a real career, and then teach after you've had your kids. Not now!"
I was furious. How condescending could they be? Apparently, I was a three-year-old more in need of a sippy cup than parental support. Teaching was not a fallback career. Okay, it wasn't cash-centered, but it was important. Very important. I suddenly looked at my parents through new eyes. Hypocrites. All my life I had heard my father complain about the long hours he spent at work. Phrases like money means nothing when you are old and can't enjoy it and nothing beats spending time with your children were thrown around our house on a daily basis by my mother. The beeping of the microwave, which signaled Mom reheating dinner in the middle of the night for my dad, was practically my childhood soundtrack. If I had a dollar for every teacher who thought my parents were divorced (my dad had the distinction of having never once attended a parent-teacher conference), I would have been able to retire by junior year. And now this? My parents wanted me to be an analyst? I was feeling deeply self-righteous and suddenly quite sarcastic.
"I'm sorry, Dad. You're right. Merrill Lynch. I can't wait to lead a lonely existence full of zero fulfillment. I'll be like all the other daughters of your friends who you are so proud of. I forgot that my sole existence in life is to please you and Mom. Gosh, how could I have been so carelessly independent?"
The look on my father's face was clear: I had gone too far. But I wasn't sorry. The direction this conversation had taken was entirely their fault. I had envisioned teary pride and heartfelt congratulations that they had raised such a well-intentioned, nonmaterialistic daughter. I hadn't announced that I was running away with my rock star boyfriend (not that I had one, but I could have). I hadn't made a dramatic declaration that I was going to join the Peace Corps. I opened my mouth to continue, but judging from my mother's face and her position right next to my father, I knew that anything I had to say was futile at this point.
"Okay. Go. Teach. But we're not helping you out one bit. Pay your rent. Buy your food. Ha-even more hilarious-pay your bills. Go have fun. We just wish you had told us you were going to take a Columbia University education and go teach. We wouldn't have bothered paying for it."
That did it. My parents were officially the most unreasonable people alive. Any desire to rationalize with these people was gone. They were mercenaries. Republicans. Supporters of the system that kept the working man (me) from ever getting a break.
I stormed out of the kitchen, brushed past my brother who had been eavesdropping in the hall, and went straight to my room. In a blur of tears and frustration I zipped open a duffel bag and crammed in as many clothes as I could, throwing my cell phone charger on top. I knew my parents were downstairs talking about me, but I was beyond caring. I was against everything they stood for. I didn't need them or their money. I would be fine on my own. I would make my own way. Okay, I guess that I would have to drive their BMW to the train station, but that would be the absolute last time I would drive a luxury car that promoted the evil empire. After that I would make my own way.
I couldn't stop thinking about how mean my parents were. Or how noble I was. If it weren't for people like me, the children of the world would never be educated. There would never be a cure for cancer, a car that would get sixty miles to the gallon, or a poet laureate to usher in the country's first female, African American president. I felt lonely, abandoned, and completely misunderstood. I had never had such a fierce argument with my parents, had never before left my house vowing never to look back. Well, actually, there was that one other time in the first grade when I had huffed my favorite Barbie chair all the way to the end of the driveway, sitting and stewing there till lunchtime because my parents had, in my wise opinion, favored my brother a little too much over breakfast. It was the smell of grilled cheese that had lured me back in that day. But there was nothing-nothing!-that could change my mind this time. I just knew I was right.
By the time I reached Grand Central, I was drained and homeless with only fifteen hundred dollars in the bank (an accumulation of graduation gifts) to last me for the summer. Or maybe a lifetime. Who else to turn to but Bridgette?
Bridgette Meyers was my best friend and sorority sister from Columbia. We had been suitemates in Carmen Hall-"suite" being Columbia's charming euphemism for a multi-occupancy cinder block cell-before upgrading into the Delta Gamma brownstone. Now Bridge had upgraded once more, and was living in a gorgeous doorman building in the East Seventies. She was an analyst at Morgan Stanley and was already making enough money to have decorated her entire space in subtle shades of sleek gray. I had visited her once over the summer, and even though I secretly felt like she had re-created a Maurice Villency showroom, complete with low couches, shag rug, and lighting fixtures that looked just like little spaceships, her apartment was definitely grown-up. Bridgette had been working part-time at the firm for the last semester; the week after graduation she moved to full-time. I really hadn't given much thought to what that had meant until she opened the door to her apartment. Almost overnight, Bridgette appeared to have aged a decade, but in that very sexy twentysomething way. She had just gotten home from work and was wearing a black pencil skirt, a fitted silk shirt, and what looked suspiciously like Jimmy Choo heels. Suddenly I was very conscious of my jeans and T-shirt.
"Hey, sis," she said warmly, opening her arms and engulfing me in a big hug. "Are you okay?" One look at her I'm-so-sorry-you-have-a-blue-collar-job expression and I was dangerously close to bursting into tears. Seemed like the whole world was either mad at me or felt sorry for me.
"Bridgette, I am seriously going to be out of here before you know it," I promised, and I meant it.
"Sweetie, are you kidding? What are sisters for? But seriously, are you sure this is what you want to do?" Bridgette looked sadly at my one lonely duffel, then directed me to the fold-out couch. "I mean, all the Delta Gamma sisters thought you were just messing around. Nobody thought you actually wanted to teach."
"Why is everyone acting like I have a disease or something?" I cried. "This is a normal career. Teaching. Normal. Some parents are actually happy when their children take this path! And Langdon is the most prestigious school in Manhattan. Do you know how lucky I am that I got this job?"
"I guess," Bridgette responded vaguely. "But Langdon is a place people go. It's not like a place where you work.... Listen, there's this thing tonight. Do you wanna go? You aren't going to start at Langdon till the end of August anyway. Come, it'll get your mind off ... stuff."
Stuff. That's what my dreams had been reduced to.
"Where?" I was suspicious, and just a little resentful that a few weeks after graduation my best friend from college wore designer clothes, lived in a designer apartment, and had a "thing" she was invited to in Manhattan.
"Just this Morgan Stanley summer analyst thing at Bungalow 8. They like, I don't know ... rent clubs and stuff. It's so lame, but lame fun, you know?" Rent out clubs? For summer analysts straight out of college? I may have gone to college in New York City, but my Manhattan had ended at Tom's Diner on 112th Street-fraternity and sorority parties on campus and nearby bars had erased my need to venture downtown. I was definitely not a New Yorker and the fact that Bridgette had beat me to it irrated me more than I was willing to admit.
"Downtown is too ... far," I finished lamely. "They're just trying to impress you."
"Anna, listen, this is just how it is. In the i-banking world, first-year analysts work their butts off, but yeah, the hard work we do is appreciated. That's where the free dinners at Nobu and parties at Bungalow come in. Also, we're working so hard that it's only at these events that we can just hang and get to know each other!"
I shook my head in disbelief. How naive could she be?
"Bridge, they're doing that stuff for you like a crack dealer gives out free shit to first-time clients! They want you to become addicted to this life so that they can use you. Once you taste how good a $400 meal at Nobu is, you'll be willing to put in whatever hours are necessary to be able to afford more dinners like that!"
It was all becoming so clear to me. I felt like I had been under a rock for twenty-two years. We were living in a society so blinded with fancy labels and exclusive restaurants that we were losing all sense of morality. What about happiness? Having time with your friends and family? Bridgette would be grinding away trying to raise millions for a company that might never know her name just so she could have a piece of ninety-dollar sushi and sashay her hips in a dark nightclub? Still, jobs like Bridgette's were rewarded with juicy salaries and addictive bonuses, whereas my role as teacher of America's youth would barely cover one month's rent.
We were replacing students with sushi.
"Okay, Anna, SERIOUSLY, you're taking this workers-of-the-world-unite thing too far. You want to teach. I get it. But are you coming with me or what? You'll love Bungalow." Bridgette gave me the same look I had seen on my mother's face: you're-going-through-a-phase-and-I'm-not-buying-into-it.
"No. You go." I pouted.
"Annie, at least teaching gives you the summer off. Come have fun with me ... it'll be like old times," Bridgette pressed, clearly unconvinced that I had abandoned the old me who would have been out the door five minutes ago. I glared back at her, not even bothering to hide my resentment.
Bridgette sighed and came over to the couch to sit beside me. I crossed my legs defensively and stared at her blank plasma screen. If she gave me a sympathetic hug I was certain I would explode.
"Just go! I don't want your pity!" I shouted, jumping and grabbing my duffel. I could take anything but the pity hug. "This was a mistake. I'll find somewhere else to live."
"ANNA!" Bridgette ran to her door and blocked the entrance. "Okay. I get it. You're going to teach ... I can't say that I don't respect someone who actually wants to go to work every morning."
Aha! The crack I had been waiting for!
"So you don't want to go to work every morning?" I challenged.
"I didn't say that."
"But you implied it."
"Bridgette! This is me," I pleaded. "Since when did you have to impress me? I don't even recognize you with all this ... this Jetsons furniture and analyst bullshit. Come down to earth, please?" Bridgette began twirling a piece of hair nervously, her eyes focused on a bizarre standing lamp that arched over her entire couch.
"The sound of my alarm clock every morning has already become ... a ... noose that seems to be tightening every day."
Her voice cracked when she said "noose," and there in front of me, finally, was a glimpse of my best friend from college. I almost wept with relief. After months of robotic "I love i-banking!" declarations, here was the lovable, lazy Bridgette I knew and adored. The girl who got herself through Lit Hum class at Columbia solely through SparkNotes and had her chicken cutlet sandwiches and Broadway milk shakes delivered from Tom's Diner even though our sorority house was around the corner.
"I can't go out because I'm flat-out broke," I admitted, but was starting to grin.
"The majority of my life is spent in a fucking cubicle," she shot back, grinning even wider.
Excerpted from SCHOOLED by ANISHA LAKHANI
Copyright © 2008 by Anisha Lakhani. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
What People are Saying About This
By turns dishy, delightful, and hilarious, Anisha Lakhani's debut novel is also a biting teach and tell. Required reading! (Claire Cook, author of Summer Blowout, Life's a Beach, and Must Love Dogs)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this book. It was clever and fun to read. And now I wonder if this kind of thing actually happens within the schools of the super rich. This is the perfect beach read. It's like cotton candy for your mind. Nothing too heavy - but a great, read. I have recommended this to a couple of my girlfriends. I am sure there are people who are materialistic like the students and parents in this book. I understand the struggle of the main character - she wants to follow her dream of teaching but finds out that it is financially harder than she thought, especially once she gets sucked into the shallow environment of the "rich kids" school. She gets caught up in a whirlwind expensive "stuff." She needs it to fit in and impress her students. I am glad the book ends the way it does -very good.
Fun, entertaining, great read! Sex and the City meets Dead Poet's Society. LOVED it! I'm a teacher and I highly recommend it! Can't wait until Lakhani's next book!
Having just finished Anisha Lakhani's Schooled, I could not wait to share it with my teacher friends. Not only was this a book I could not put down, but it brought back memories of my earlier teacher days. Having been in the private sector for years, it allowed me to have many ah-ha moments mixed with the wit and humor of a fantastic writer. Anisha knows where she's going in her literary genre and I can not wait for her next book to be ready! I highly recommend this book and sing its praise to everyone!
If I could give this book 100 stars I would! This book makes me want to leave my job and go teach in Manhattan. As a teacher I could really connect with the characters and wish (at times) that I was the main character. There were also a number of moments that I was really able to connect with both the teacher and the students. I know how she felt and found myself wondering what I would do in the same situation.A must read for teachers and those that want to become teachers!
"Schooled" is one of those books where an idealistic young woman goes to the big city full of plans to change the world and, dazzled by the wealth around her, forgets her true self and becomes part of a corrupt culture (in this case, private schools in Manhattan). It is an enjoyable and highly readable example of the genre, even if it has all been done before. As another reviewer has mentioned, Lakhani really stresses the importance of good teachers and good teaching.This reader became increasingly annoyed with the label-whore aspect of the book (if I read the words "Juicy Couture" one more time I'm going to scream). Yes, yes, things, labels, Chanel, we get it. Anna is "poor" and wants to be rich and have cool stuff.
Schooled is an easy and enjoyable read, and provides some interesting glimpses into the world of super-priveleged private school students ¿ and their parents. The main character Anna transforms from an enthusiastic but inexperienced teacher who just doesn¿t know the `code¿, to someone who gets caught the lucrative tutoring game (where she experiences various forms of `peer pressure¿ from colleagues, students and parents). Somewhat predictably, Anna finally ¿snaps¿ back to her genuine self - a more seasoned but sincere eductor. Schooled does a good job of speaking to those workplace or other situations where it¿s easier (or tempting) to just go along with poor professional practices than to take the risk to stand up for what is right in a rather fun and entertaining manner. Certainly worth reading.
I recieved this book through Early Reviewers, and waited a number of months for it to show up. Definitely worth the wait.The book tells the story of Anna, a wide-eyed, recent college graduate who begins teaching in a Manhattan school for the excessively wealthy. She quickly learns that not all is as it seems and discovers that the real money is in tutoring. It's a fascinating story of how we can all be pulled in by money, but how it's so much more worthwhile to care about what really matters.I am passing this book on to a teacher friend and I know she will enjoy it as much as I did.
This book, which is about a young and eager teacher entering the surreal world of New York City private schools, was a very fast and highly enjoyable read. Anna, who is a fresh graduate from Columbia, is hired on to be an English teacher at a prestigious New York private school where the elite send their children. Her enthusiasm and optimism are familiar and inspiring, bringing to mind all the feel-good movies, like "Lean on Me" or "Freedom Writers' Diary," where teachers mould the young minds of tomorrow. Her, and our, bubble is soon burst when she's faced with the pampered offspring of New York's most privileged, who will pay thousands for the best "tutors" to ensure the best grades with the least amount of effort. The author, Anisha Lakhani, actually taught at a New York private school, which adds a sickening sort of realism and believability to this exploration of education's dark side. Despite the story's focus on the negatives in private school education, the book manages to stay light and amusing and, most impressively, to avoid cynicism about the American educational system. On the contrary, Lakhani consistently drives home the point about the importance of good teachers, even more than good schools. I was surprised by exactly how much I enjoyed it!
An entertaining story about the seedy underbelly of Manhattan private schools, the students and the "tutors" to these students. As we discover most "tutors" not only help out with homework but actually complete the assignments themselves. The tutors are highly paid and easily fall into the pattern of earn the money to shop more, to then have to earn more money to shop even more and the cycle of dysfunction repeats itself. The narrator does fall into that trap, as a first year teacher, but redeems herself in the end and remembers the true reason why she went into teaching, and it wasn't for the money.
This was an interesting look into the world of prep school education and the administration that leads it. Anna is conflicted between being morally grounded and barely making ends meet by being a traditional teacher, or living a lavish lifestyle by "tutoring" kids on the side. Good read, though the ending seemed rushed.
I teach in a public school that services kids from underprivileged homes. Sometimes, as all teachers do at times, I complain about difficult kids, parents, and/or admin. It comes with the territory. PreKindergarten isn't all happy faces, snack and fun arts crafts. It is work and there are hard days. However, I do not have it as bad as Anna Taggert in Schooled. Oh. My. God. I would have quit the very first day if I had to deal with what she does at her private school in Manhattan. who would put up with that? Well, we know there are many who do, but how? Those kids would have eaten me alive the first hour. I would have very little patience for their parents and I would resent the un-supportive administration that catered to the rich family donators. This is quite a world I would hate to live in but love to read about. Never again will I complain that a parent didn't make it to a parent conference!
The Nanny Diaries about teaching and tutoring. Lakhani was a NY teacher for 10 years and based the book on her own experiences as well as those of her colleagues. The book is readable, entertaining and light. It would be a good beach or airplane book. While the plot is entertaining, the motivation for character behavior is often unclear and the end of the book is very abrupt.
I wasn't expecting much from this novel. First novels are often something to be afraid of. Debuts often seem too heavy handed, too deliberate or just plain awful. Lakhani had a few problems, mostly with descriptions (showing, not telling!) and a lot of tired plot devices. I figured this book would be fluff. It doesn't pretend to be anything but fluff, being compared to The Nanny Diaries and The Devil Wears Prada. Anna Taggart, a new English teacher at a pricey private school in NYC, learns the awful truth of how the teachers make money and afford the rich lifestyles of their students. This is her story.Unfortunately, the plot of the book is fairly predictable. The characters, while initially interesting, never feel fully fleshed out. In fact, it was difficult to feel any sort of connection to Anna, and if I felt anything at all, it was far from sympathy. A lot of it read like name dropping at a social function. I'm not saying DON'T read it ... just don't pay for it. I hope Lakhani's second effort (if there is one) is better. I'd give it a chance. Side note: Is this being made into a movie? It certainly read like one.
Schooled by Anisha Lakhani is is a very quick and easy read. The type of book I take to the beach! It's funny, enjoyable and informative. Anna Taggart is just out of college and instead of getting a high paying job immediately, she decides to teach at a very exclusive upper Manhattan private school. Suddenly Anna realizes she wants to have more. More money, more quality, more of everything life has to offer and she wants it fast. Too bad her low paying job isn't doing it. So, she takes on a job "tutoring" and before she can justify what she's doing, she's getting all she wants. And just how will she justify what she's doing?I really enjoyed "Schooled" and the look into the lifestyles of the "rich and almost-famous"! This book reminds me a lot of the many television series, books and now movies that are now out and ever so popular! (ie Sex and The City, The Nanny Diaries, and The Devil Wears Prada). The truth of the matter is, if you like and/or liked any of those, you'll LOVE "Schooled".
First year teacher, Anna takes a job at a private school and begins to see the level of privilege of the rich, including what the parents do to ¿help¿ their children¿s futures. Anna make such little money, often less than what her students spend on one pair of shoes, in her teaching position that she becomes an outside tutor and begins to earn the type of money that she¿s never seen before. While this money helps her to fit in with the rich parents and become lost in this world, she eventually realizes that money isn¿t everything and realizes the importance of education and other things. Schooled is what I would consider a good beach read. Light and oftentimes funny, it definitely was a quick read. I¿ve recommended it to many of my teacher friends who are able to relate to the education system and the challenges within.
the bummer about the book is i know that a lot of it is really true....which made it an interesting read. it was a a good summer afternoon quick read.....i really did enjoy it.....but i really wanted it to be a little bit better.....
Anna Taggert is a young teacher starting her first teaching job at a Manhattan private school with visions of making a difference in her students' lives. It isn't long before she has her eyes opened to the reality of her students' priviledged upbringing, where no one does their own work, and every student has their own highly-paid tutor. Anna soon joins the ranks of the private tutors herself, enticed by the huge sums of money and the luxuries such money can buy. Now she has a new best friend, a high-end apartment, status handbags, blond highlights, and a wardrobe to rival any wealthy Manhattan socalite. But has she sold herself out, abandonded not only her old self, but her morals as well?I really enjoyed this novel. I did not find the brand name-dropping to be annoying at all - it wasn't any different than your average chick lit novel. This was a very readable story, and a fast read. It was fun to read about Anna's experiences with her tutoring students, even if it was hard to believe they were only 7th and 8th graders for the most part.Overall, an entertaining story that I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys a bit of chick lit now and then.
This book had the potential to be a wicked farce, which I would have found very enjoyable. But it fell short, and instead was just another in the long line of novels about Manhattan's uber-rich. Anna Taggert is a young, idealistic teacher at a tony private school, barely making enough money to scrape by. A few weeks in, though, she discovers where the true money lies -- tutoring. A squadron of tutors traipse the city "helping" (aka doing) with homework. Anna is quickly swept away by the glitzy world her tutoring salary opens for her. But what's best for the children? How will they ever learn? The ending will surprise no one.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Being a teacher myself, I understood where Anna was coming from - wanting to make a difference, unsure where to begin, and longing for support from those around her.Lakhani's characters grab you from the first page. Anna Taggert is a truly likable heroine - I found myself cheering for her until the very end. Although she falls prey to the lure of easy money, she works heard to regain her integrity. Similarly, the students of Langdon are not what they seem. at first glance, the appear merely spoiled and lazy. But, as Anna works with them, we seem them begin to bloom - and we witness how they are manipulated by the world in which they live.I have to admit, I have been a reading slump lately. But, this was the perfect book to get me back on track. If you are looking for a book you can loose yourself in - pick this one up!
First off, what really got me interested in this book was its title and cover. I was really curious as to how a shopping bag with the word "Schooled" on it could possibly be a book about teaching. But after reading the summary, I was hooked for sure. I am an undergrad student, currently in the Faculty of Education, and to read a book about an interesting private school education, it was truly inspiring and invoked a lot of questions I have for myself now.I have to say though, that I generally don't like to read bad reviews about a book before I even get a chance to read it, because then you never know if that review is stuck at the back of your mind, and influencing your own thoughts. Or in my case, it just pointed out things to me as I was reading it, and still, I like to generally come to conclusions on my own. (Unless there's so many bad reviews about a certain book out there, then obviously I don't bother even reading it.) In this case, I had read a review about how "Schooled" was just a name-dropper and had no substance. Well, I beg to differ. Sure there was a lot of name dropping, but surely, that was the author's intention. It is the seduction of all those brand names that Anna is hooked on, and even as a reader myself, I could feel that want and need of a better living condition and style. As for the substance, well I guess it depends on your point of view. Personally, I gained perspective on teaching. I don't think I'm naive enough like Anna to walk into my first classroom and think that I will inspire and change my students' lives. I think something like that takes time and patience, and you can't go in with unrealistic feelings. As for Anna, readers can see her character, her flaws and her assets. She wants the better things in life, but we also see that her desire to teach wins out in the end. With her students, though they seem shallow throughout, the fears and insecurities are shown when near the end, her student shows that he is dependent on the lifestyle in which he is brought up in.I don't think that I can say whether this book has really changed my own perspective of teaching as my own profession. I personally just feel that I wouldn't really want to teach at a private school one day, but that feeling has always been kind of there. Anyways, whether you are interested in teaching or not, I think it's an insightful book about our jobs that we choose and need to make a living. It's a "go-get-em'" book for those who want to fulfill a dream that may not give them that great of an income. It's a book about how we might fall off our path, but as long as we make our way back to it, then things can turn around.
Anna Taggart is a young ivy-league graduate who wants to change the world. So instead of accompanying her friends into high-paying professions, she chooses to teach Manhattan¿s uber-rich `tweens at a prestigious (but low-paying) private school. The trouble is, Anna¿s not only young but immature, and becomes so dazzled by the 7th-graders' designer accessories and high-end lifestyles that she takes a second job (and then a third, fourth, fifth¿) as a highly paid private tutor so that she can buy more and more of the high-life for herself.The novel¿s inside look at Manhattan¿s wealthy families and private schools is interesting, and Lakhani develops a decent story arc -- particularly relating a conspiracy and the protagonist¿s moment of revelation. But the writing is amateurish -- characterization is thin; pages are choked with adverbs and exclamation points; nothing is ever ¿said,¿ it¿s announced, argued, breathed, commented, corrected, cried, exclaimed, gasped, hushed, laughed, muttered, replied, retorted, sniffed, stated, whined.Interestingly, Schooled is best when the protagonist actually teaches ¿ even the reader learns a bit about Shakespeare. Overall, it¿s more similar to the breathless tear of The Devil Wears Prada than to The Nanny Diaries¿ more substantive, emotive, and admirable heroine.
I really enjoyed this book. It reminded me of a book I had read before called "Admissions" by Nancy Lieberman, which I happened to love. I really liked hearing how bold the kids where and as a future teacher I hope I don't have to deal with to many snobby kiddos. Great read, mum even loved it!
A recent graduate from Columbia University, Anna Taggert decides that her life's goal is to become a teacher. Over her parent's objections she takes a job teaching English at an elite private school on Manhattan's Upper East Side. Here she learns that teaching is not all "Lean on Me" and "Stand and Deliver", in fact actual work and assignments are frowned upon. The more Anna tries to make lesson plans and actually teach, the more unfriendly phone calls she gets from parents. Discouraged by her small apartment and even smaller salary Anna begins to despair, until she receives the a phone call that turns her life around. So Anna becomes a tutor, and spends her ever diminishing free time shopping at Barney's, taking on more and more tutoring assignments so that she can live the lifestyle she thinks she deserves. Ironically it is a tutoring assignment with a new student that shows her the error of her ways, and the last few chapters of the book reflect on Anna's desire to become the teacher she has always dreamed of being.Schooled is a debut novel by an author who has lived the world she is writing about. Anisha Lakhani was an English teacher at the prestigious Dalton School in Manhattan. One has to wonder just how much of this novel is actually true, and if so, it reflects poorly on the educational system for allowing and encouraging such shenanigans to go on.I enjoyed this book, and was fascinated by just how quickly the main character allowed herself to be corrupted. A quick summer read along the lines of The Devil Wears Prada or The Nanny Diaries.
Just in time for the new school year, a novel that will interest teachers, parents, tutors, and anyone interested in who is really doing the homework sent home by teachers today. It's an eye opener. Darkly humourous, Schooled was written by a former English teacher in Manhattan. The story follows Anna Taggert's first year of teaching private middle school children and the shock of discovery about rich kids and the tutors who write their homework assignments for them. An enthusiastic new Ivy League graduate, Anna doesn't just want to teach, she wants to inspire her students. The paycheck isn't great but she's doing what she loves.Until she inadvertantly discovers that high priced tutors are writing the homework assignments of some of her own students. But she's really shocked when she is encouraged by other teachers and the parents, not to ask questions. Even school administration tells her to let the kids slide because, well, their parents make big donations to the school. The parents she's in contact with defend the practice because their poor dears are under such pressure to excel, or have emotional problems and need extra consideration because they absolutely must get into the best universities in the future. The shock begins to wear off when she's offered a job tutoring in the evenings for $200 an hour. The kids in her class love her when she lets them slide and begins dressing to their own extravagantly rich standards. The parents love her when she doesn't give them homework or tests, especially tests. The pressure is just too much for the little darlings you understand. Anna falls into temptation and doing things the easy way until her conscience catches up with her. She comes to realize how far she's comprised her own principles and something has to change.Lakhani calls this story fiction based on her own experiences as a teacher and those of her colleagues. It's witty, rings true, and is sometimes downright funny.I recommend it.
Schooled is another mis-adventure with the uber-rich in the upper east side of New York. Reading a lot like the Nanny Diaries meets The Devil Wears Prada , Schooled follows the first year of a new private school teacher as she becomes indoctrinated into the world of the obscenely rich and influential. Anisha Lakhani writing is extremely readable and her main character, Anna Taggert, is very likable. Even when Anna missteps you root for her. Unfortunately Anna's character arch is extremely predictable and the ultimate climax of the book is fairly abrupt and not extremely climatic. What's missing from Schooled is any real depth, rather than digging deeper into the lives of Anna's students, Lakhani seems more interested in long descriptions of Anna's binge brand shopping and the Channel Bag or Prada Shoes she buys. Despite its flaws Schooled still delivers on some level, I found myself interested in following Anna's journey, even though I knew pretty well where it would turn out. Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Schooled is that it has the nugget of a gem of a really good book, Lakhani has a great set-up, really likable characters and an engaging writing styles, she just never digs deep enough to pull out its true potential. Still, if you're looking for a light summer read and were a huge fan of The Nanny Diaries you could do much worse than Schooled.