New Books Network

Michael Copperman


Two Years in the Mississippi Delta

University of Mississippi Press 2016

New Books in American StudiesNew Books in EducationNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books in SociologyNew Books Network October 27, 2016 Trevor Mattea

Anyone who has spent time in a school as an adult probably knows how hard it is for teachers to leave their work when...

Anyone who has spent time in a school as an adult probably knows how hard it is for teachers to leave their work when they come home every night. There always seems to be more work for them to do, along with inordinate responsibility and a sense that every extra minute spent on tomorrow’s lesson plan will generate better outcomes for students. But teachers also bring their non-school lives along with them when they return each day. We have young teachers and old teachers; single teachers and those who are married with children; teachers who have lived their entire lives in their communities and those who have traveled the world before settling down. Each of them already brings at least one thing that is unique and worthwhile. Maybe it is their energy, optimism, or sense of purpose. Maybe it is their wealth of firsthand experience or their understanding of the community and its history. Is there something we should look for in our teachers? How can we prepare them to share the best of what they have to offer as we encourage them to grow in new ways? What can teachers learn from reflecting on how their biographies and life circumstances intersect with their work?

In Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta (University Press of Mississippi, 2016), Michael Copperman recounts his experiences as a recent college graduate recruited by Teach for America to serve in a community far from his home that was burdened both by poverty and racial segregation.

Copperman joins New Books in Education for the interview. To share your thoughts on the podcast, you can connect with him on Twitter at @MikeCopperman.

During our conversation, he also recommended the following books:

What I Didn’t Know: True Stories of Becoming a Teacher by Lee Gutkind
Hanging Bridge: Racial Violence and America’s Civil Rights Century by Jason Ward

Trevor Mattea is an educational consultant and speaker. His areas of expertise include deeper learning, parent involvement, project-based learning, and technology integration. He can be reached by email at or on Twitter at @tsmattea.