Educating Esme: Diary of a Teacher's First Year Short Essay - Answer Key

Esmé Raji Codell
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Short Essay Questions Key

1. Describe Ismene, including her appearance and personality.

Ismene Siteles is Codell's mentor, and the reason Codell is excited about teaching. She is gaunt and her hair is graying. She is brash and assertive, and is not afraid to pull ears and challenge troublesome students. She is strict with Codell and with her students, but ultimately supportive.

2. What is the Fairy Tale Festival?

The Fairy Tale Festival is a school event proposed by Codell that is discussed in the early entries of Part I. Codell plans an elaborate festival with a fashion show, bake sale, and carnival games with fairy tale themes. A committee is organized to evaluate the proposal, and ultimately the festival is rejected for being too ambitious.

3. As related in Part I's first entry, what happens in Codell's first interviews for the position at the new public school?

Codell is interviewed first by Mr. Turner. After she assures him she will not bother him with disciplinary issues, she is immediately approved. However, she must also be approved by a panel of administrators in order to be hired. She is asked a series of questions about teaching style and how she would handle certain classroom situations, and she answers in what she describes as a "cavalier manner." Nevertheless, Mr. Turner reports that the panel loves her, and she is hired.

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