To Teach: The Journey, in Comics

To Teach The Journey in Comics cover

Buy from:

Teachers College Press

Barnes & Noble


About the Book

  • AERA Social Justice Action Committee Social Justice in Education Award, 2011
  • AESA Critics’ Choice Award, 2011
  • ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award Finalist in Education, 2010

This graphic novel brings to life William Ayers’s bestselling memoir To Teach: The Journey of a Teacher, Third Edition. From Ayers’s early days teaching kindergarten, readers follow this renowned educational theorist on his “voyage of discovery and surprise.” We meet fellow travelers from schools across the country and watch students grow across a year and a lifetime.

To Teach is a vivid, honest portrayal of the everyday magic of teaching, and what it means to be a “good” teacher—debunking myths perpetuated on film and other starry-eyed hero/teacher fictions. Illuminated by the evocative and wry drawings of Ryan Alexander-Tanner, this graphic version of To Teach will engage while it instructs. It is a much-needed reminder of how curiosity, a sense of adventure, and a healthy dose of reflection can guide us all to learn the most from this world as we educate the next generation. Teacher educators and professional developers will want to use this dynamic graphic novel alongside the traditional text for a unique teaching and learning experience.

Quotes and Reviews

“This fascinating and, yes, educational book will certainly be of interest to teachers, but it will also teach, inspire, and entertain anyone else who picks it up.” —Publishers Weekly

“It’s profoundly charming . . . a must for educators and highly encouraged for all.”  —The Huffington Post

“An utterly original and deliciously irreverent book that is likely to be passed from hand to hand by tens of thousands of our nation’s teachers out of the sheer joy that they will take in reading it.”  —From the Foreword by Jonathan Kozol

“To Teach is hilarious serious and fabulous! A broad manifesto that will change many people’s lives.” —Laurie Anderson, artist and musician

“To Teach represents a fresh breeze in the educational and social science research community. It takes daring to reconceptualize entrenched practices and traditional modes of research. But it is better to find new seas upon which to sail, than old ports at which to dock. Bill Ayers and Ryan Alexander-Tanner have provided a glimpse of that new sea and for this we should be grateful.”  —Elliot Eisner, Lee Jacks Professor Emeritus, Stanford University

“Bill Ayers’s theories about teaching reform rest on at least two foundations. One is that the hierarchical relationship between the student and teacher should be moved out of the way, followed by simultaneous learning by teacher and student. The second is to demonstrate how some subjects blend with others (math with science) and all should be taught with their relationship in mind. Sounds good to me. A serious book, but laced with humor. It will strike most readers as a novel approach. Required reading for all educators.”  —Harvey Pekar, author, American Splendor series

“This book is a treasure chest of insight. It represents what dedicated, imaginative teaching is all about and is a blueprint for everyone who wants to explore the intimate connection between teaching and learning. Bill Ayers’ thoughtful text is illuminated by Ryan Alexander-Tanner’s picture-perfect cartoons, creating an added dimension of wit and wisdom that brings comics another step forward in their evolution.”  —Peter Kuper, cartoonist and educator, books include Sticks and Stones, and Diario De Oaxaca

“To Teach is great reading not only to student teachers but to anyone who has a vested interest in our education system. I especially appreciated the smack down of the dehumanizing trend to pigeonhole every other kid with some kind of “at risk” syndrome! It also is a great example of how comic art is a very efficient way to communicate complex ideas.” —Peter Bagge, comics journalist and author of the Buddy Bradley series

“The perennial dance of learning that can also be teaching at its best is both brilliantly and graphically shown herein by Messrs. Ayers and Alexander-Tanner. Do keep in mind that although they can show you the right steps, you still have to listen closely to your interior music and follow its changing melodies and rhythms.” —Gary Dumm, artist, Ego & Hubris: The Michael Malice Story, and American Splendor

“Weaving in inspirational anecdotes and playful visual metaphors, To Teach: The Journey, in Comics takes us through one school year with a delightful group of young learners. In the process, Ayers and Alexander-Tanner’s collaboration cleverly illustrates the vital importance—and moral necessity—of teaching.” —Josh Neufeld, writer/artist of A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge

“Ayers organizes a classroom like Alexander-Tanner lays out each page: with inventiveness, clarity of purpose, and a close attention honoring their individual subjects. I wish I’d read this book before I started teaching and making comics a decade ago; it’s chock full of practical and philosophical advice. Ayers says you’re not there to entertain or save the students. Teaching is primarily a challenging and humbling act of love. Each student must be valued as an individual rather than a statistic. Knowledge is a two-way street between teacher and student, and when everything works all the individual voices come together to enrich our communities. I know this book will inspire a generation of teachers to come.” —Lauren Weinstein, cartoonist and teacher, writer/artist, Girl Stories

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