What do teachers feel when facing William Shakespeare, tales of family feud, breathless kissing scenes—all in front of a class of teens who are keeping their heads down (and threatening to fall asleep or plot their next prank in the process)?
We may never know what our own 8th or 9th grade teachers felt. But, on this count, educator Callie Feyen has done us a favor. She has written a poignant memoir—The Teacher Diaries: Romeo & Juliet.
It begins with a kiss. Then, page by page, it reveals her generous, hopeful, and humorous heart.
For teachers everywhere, this is a beautiful book to help them remember why they teach. For those of us who just love to get the juicy details of what someone in a challenging position really thinks, this book will satisfy (and sometimes make us laugh, or cry).
Bonus classroom activities included.
Hilarious, heart-rending, entertaining
—KA, Amazon reviewer
What Readers Are Saying
This is a book about being a teacher, and about being a mother, and, in its way, about being a writer. But it is most fully a depiction of living with a work of literature, about the conversations literature can spark and the memories literature can hold and reconfigure. The acknowledgments suggest that writing this book helped Callie Feyen remember why she loved teaching. Reading it made me remember why I love to read.
—Lauren Winner, bestselling author and Associate Professor, Duke Divinity School
Callie Feyen’s warm, funny, and deeply felt reflections on teaching Romeo and Juliet to eighth graders took me back to that moment where my own junior high teacher’s line-by-line slog through the play led to my conversion experience to the wonders of great literature. Here is a book that will not only encourage and inspire other teachers but thrill anyone who knows how profoundly literature can awaken and shape the soul.
—Gregory Wolfe, Editor, Image
Callie Feyen is not just a writer, she is a weaver. She seamlessly threads her past, her students’ experiences, and the timeless tale of Romeo and Juliet into a story of growth and remembrance. She brings the ache of early teenhood to life, and I was transported along with her students every step of the way. Honestly, 8th grade would have been better if she had been my guide.
—Stephanie Stearns Dulli, Director Listen To Your Mother Show DC
Callie Feyen’s students are blessed, as are the teachers who will read her book (and their own students, who will in turn benefit from it). But more than that, there’s the special excitement of reading the first memoir of a young writer with a compelling voice. Brava!
—John Wilson, Editor, Books & Culture 1995-2016
Educators and parents alike are desperate for ways to engage students in meaningful ways, while also fulfilling their obligation to meet standards and produce outcomes. And this is why a book like this one matters.
Feyen weaves memoir with educational strategy, presenting it with humor, empathy, and an urgency that helps us see the relevance of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy. Presented with love, kindness, and sympathy, the book is a valiant corrective for so many of the worst trends in contemporary educational policy.
If you are a teacher who wants to do more than teach to the test, Feyen will give you hope: there is a way to give yourself fully, to be creative in the classroom, and to honor the material as well as the outcomes.
—Cara Gabriel, Assistant Professor, Department of Performing Arts at American University
Callie’s writing grabs you from the first pages and doesn’t let you go until it’s done with you—and you won’t be left unmoved.
Abbigail Kriebs, Amazon reviewer
Reading The Teacher Diaries is not just an opportunity to pull up a chair in the class of a master. Though it is certainly that. It is the chance to sit with a friend and devour these timeless stories all over again. Callie’s insights are fresh and her eye for palpable detail unmatched.
Callie is a writer who loves stories and in her deft hands Shakespeare comes alive anew, whether you have read him a thousand times before or never once. Her writing is warm and relentless, personal and elegant. Frankly, it’s near addictive and I’ll be purchasing this book for every lover of words I know.
—Daniel Hoss, Amazon reviewer
While it is true I probably (?) read Romeo and Juliet at some point in my school career, the other truth is this: I don’t really remember it, and I didn’t really care about it. Enter: Callie Feyen.
Callie’s gift for storytelling paired with her passion for literature and teaching is a force to be reckoned with. What I wouldn’t give to have a do-over of 8th grade with Mrs. Feyen as my teacher.
I could not put this book down. Every story is captivating, insightful, charming, and full of vivid details laced with nostalgia. I’ll be buying this for all the teachers at my son’s school, but anyone who ever survived 8th grade will love this book!
—Ashlee Gadd, Amazon reviewer
Callie’s story-telling ability is nothing short of captivating. You’ll fall in love with her, and you’ll fall in love with literature all over again. She has a brilliant way of weaving together stories, and I absolutely recommend this book!
—Sarah, Amazon Reviewer
Check out The Teacher Diaries’ Companion Book!
Includes the play, essays, personal annotations by Callie Feyen, four bonus classroom activities, and a glossary.