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TITLE: Angels in My Classroom
AUTHOR: Lee-Ann Meredith
PUBLISHER: The Educator’s Room / Lee-Ann Meredith Publishing
DATE OF PUBLICATION: August 1, 2014
RETAIL PRICE: $15.99 Softback
Longform copy for newsletters, email campaigns, blog posts, etc.
FIRST-TIME AUTHOR CAPTURES SEESAW OF
HILARITY AND DRAMA IN A 2ND GRADE CLASSROOM, AND
HOW THOSE 7-YEAR OLDS HELPED HER OVERCOME UPENDING GRIEF
CHICAGO–The Educator’s Room, a global online publication dedicated to empowering teachers, is pleased to announce the release of “Angels in My Classroom: How Second Graders Saved My Life.” Veteran educator and contributor to The Educator’s Room, Lee-Ann Meredith makes her debut as an author with a memoir about life in her second grade classroom, and how those seven-year olds sustained her after her husband’s unexpected death.
Walk through the carved arched doorway of the 1924 red brick building on Chicago’s northwest side, up the wide marble stairs, and to the third door on your left. That’s where you’ll find Room 203. Called to teaching when her own children were in elementary school, Ms. Meredith taught for 15 years in the same second grade classroom. In Room 203, Ms. Meredith became an expert on seven-year olds including their jokes, joys and anguish. When Lee-Ann’s husband’s diagnosis and death from colon cancer capsized her life, it was in Room 203 that her second graders gradually righted her and towed her back to solid ground.
“Seldom does a memoir capture both the spirit of the author and those that make up the fabric of their world,” says one reader.
“Angels in My Classroom” will inspire teachers with the wit and wisdom of an innovative and passionate educator who succeeded despite the challenges of one of the largest and most problematic school systems in the United States. “Angels in My Classroom” also provides a road map for grief counselors and therapists, and those navigating the stages of grief.
“I believe most educators will say that teaching will sustain you more than drain you, despite the many challenges of the profession,” says Ms. Meredith. “And I’m hardly the first teacher to navigate a personal crisis while working, but I learned in Room 203 that seven-year olds—just by being seven—are indeed angels.”
Lee Ann Meredith lives in Chicago where she is a writer on education, a credentialed practitioner of alternative health therapies, and a swing dancer. She has a BS in Finance and worked as a bookkeeper before returning to school to get her elementary education teaching certificate. She is a Responsive Classroom trained teacher believing that a social curriculum supports academics. Her website is www.msmeredith203.com.
Shortform copy for blurbs.
PLATFORM: Angels in My Classroom: How Second Graders Saved My Life
Using her veteran second grade teacher voice, Lee-Ann Meredith offers a powerful account of her husband’s untimely death from cancer and how she gained strength from an unlikely source- her second grade students. The book gives readers a detailed glimpse into the human factor of teaching by using humor, healing and joy. Angels in My Classroom: How Second Graders Saved My Life will inspire teachers, parents, and anyone who was ever a second grader, with the wit and wisdom of an innovative and passionate educator who succeeded despite the challenges of one of the largest and most problematic school systems in the United States. Lee-Ann Meredith is a retired Chicago Public School teacher. She lives in Chicago where she is a writer on education, a credentialed practitioner of alternative health therapies, and dances every opportunity she gets.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao Tzu Lee-Ann Meredith is a second grade teacher, author, Grade Level Chairperson and education advocate who has spent the duration of her time in public education at John B. Murphy Elementary School in inner city Chicago. Often characterized as funny, dynamic, and an independent innovator, Lee-Ann cites her idol as Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus. Fluent in a wide range in instructional strategies for the elementary level, Lee-Ann is dedicated to being an advocate for children everywhere by implementing ‘cutting edge’ strategies to increase student achievement. Some of the issues that she spearhead included: promoting literacy throughout the building. In addition to working closely with the curriculum, she also had the honor to supervise (and mentor into teaching positions) numerous student teachers and practicum students from various post-secondary institutions around the Chicago area such as: Erikson Institute, National Louis, DePaul. Northeastern Illinois, Roosevelt, and North Park Universities. Lee-Ann is a Responsive Classroom trained educator.
Born in Gary, Indiana, Lee-Ann was the oldest of six children, Lee-Ann found herself practicing her teacher skills from an early age and with a captive audience. In 1983 Lee-Ann married her husband, Mark, a kind, gentle, smart man who helped her raise two children, Alec and Elena . When their kids were thirteen and eleven years old, Mark was diagnosed with colorectal cancer and unfortunately died three years later. While Lee-Ann was financially stable, she become emotionally homeless mourning the death of the love of her life.
Marred by her husband’s untimely death due to colon cancer, Lee-Ann wrote the memoir, Angels in My Classroom: How Second Graders Saved My Life, to document how her students brought her joy in her utmost time of need. Currently Lee-Ann uses her time to be a freelance writer on issues occurring in education, traveling to be with her grandchildren, being a Usui Reiki Master and promoting her book. For speaking engagements, calendars of dates and ways to book her for a visit to your school, visit her at http://www.leeannmeredith.com.
Author Background Story
Seven and eight year olds can be very zany people. They are warm and caring even when they behave in astonishing ways. As their teacher, Lee-Ann was their advocate and in return they gave her life a purpose she thought she had lost. Angels in My Classroom: How Second Graders Saved My Life is an emotional though uplifting story of her thirteen years teaching second grade in a low-income Chicago Public School and how her students helped Lee-Ann through the grief of her family from the death of her young husband. Often witty and sometimes poignant, the book shows the juxtaposition of an out-spoken, but nurturing, teacher moments and the story of the illness and untimely loss of a partner in life.
Lee-Ann’s philosophy of demanding respect for everyone in and out of the classroom was part and parcel of her teaching. Using an intuition of what was going on in the minds of second graders filled her room with positive energy. It grounded them all, both adults and children suffering from loss and made it possible for both academic and emotional growth.
While we get lost in the day-to-day, the secret I know is that teaching should be a joy.
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Sample Interview Questions
What makes Angels in The Classroom unique for other books about teaching or grief?
What message do you hope readers will get from your story?
Why do you believe this fills a gap in how we understand educators?
What light does this story shed on teacher/student relationships?
How does your background shape your role as a teacher?
You entered teaching as a second career. What encouraged you to become a public school teacher?
What do you believe we are missing in the way we deal with grief in school?
What mistakes did do you think you made as a teacher?
Walk us through how you decided to keep teaching during your husband’s illness and after his death?
Who would benefit from this book?
How did you talk to your class about your husband’s death?
What would you like people to realize about children’s grief and feelings of loss?
What made you decide to leave teaching? How hard was it to leave Room 203?
Links to Chapters
Chapter 5: Laugh, Laugh, Laugh
Chapter 14: The Dilemma of Empathy