With high ideals and great expectations, the author was soon teaching in one of Chicago's toughest South Side neighborhoods--and quickly learned that noble ideas would go only so far. "In reality, my classroom was just one deck chair on the Titanic," she comments. Overcrowded classrooms, little if any infrastructure, and more than enough derision and contempt to go around added up to a problem extending well beyond her educational training. It would take determination, persistence, and, perhaps above all, a sense of humor to make a practical difference in the lives of these students.
Inside Mrs. B's Classroom is Baldacci's extraordinary memoir of life in the trenches of inner-city teaching. She takes us inside the classroom, and introduces us to a colorful cast of characters--both students and teachers alike. With wry wit and a sharp sense of irony, Baldacci relates her story with the grace and ease one needs to manage the days in a classroom such as hers. Developing strong (and absolutely essential) bonds with her fellow teachers proves to be her saving grace, but surprisingly, her students become her greatest inspiration. "Leaving school to walk home after gunfire had spit bullets through the neighborhood they were my role models. As long as they kept coming to school, so would I," she says.