Author(s): Bel Kaufman
Sylvia Barrett arrives at New York City's Calvin Coolidge High fresh from earning literature degrees at Hunter College and eager to shape young minds. Instead she encounters broken windows, a lack of supplies, a stifling bureaucracy, and students with no interest in Chaucer. Her bumpy yet ultimately rewarding journey is narrated through an extraordinary collection of correspondence--sternly worded yet nonsensical administrative memos, furtive notes of wisdom from teacher to teacher, "polio consent slips," and student homework assignments that unwittingly speak from the heart. An instant bestseller when it was first published in 1964, Up the Down Staircase remains as poignant, devastating, laugh-out-loud funny, and relevant today as ever. It timelessly depicts a beleaguered public school system redeemed by teachers who love to teach and students who long to be recognized.