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Advice for Teachers from

Today’s High School Students

by Kathleen Cushman, Kristien Zenkov, and Meagan Call-Cummings

With their world changing at warp speed, adolescents are living out mind-bending quandaries as they learn in the context of crisis.

More than ever, they need high school teachers to hear their voices and recognize their needs.

The new book Fires in Our Lives brings forward a crucial dialogue among youth and their teachers.

The New Press  •   2021

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Photograph by Nick Whalen


Teachers of diverse adolescents in this era face enormous new challenges, and they are searching for ways to ignite their students’ learning, remotely and in person.


Fires in Our Lives author Kathleen Cushman has an ongoing podcast featuring deep conversations with educators around the country. Sparked by their own experiences, they share their ideas and reach for new approaches to draw youth into the learning they will need to shape their world.

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“We now know how desperately students and educators yearn to be with, to be in community, to learn and teach in intimate relations. This volume may be the lantern we need to carve new paths in the history of education, refusing to “go back to normal” that was deadening all of us — students and teachers, and democracy alike.”

— Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Critical Psychology and Urban Education, The Graduate Center, CUNY

“Once again, Cushman and her colleagues turn to the experts we are least likely to hear from — kids — to inform us about what’s working in schools and what’s not. As you read about their experiences and perceptions I hope others will feel as compelled as I do, to take action to support them.”

— Pedro A. Noguera, PhD, Emery Stoops and Joyce King Stoops Dean, Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California

“An accurate and useful snapshot of what today’s teenagers are up to and up against.”

                                                    — Publishers Weekly

“The authors provide many resources and activities to facilitate social-emotional development and inquiry.”

                                                                     — Booklist

“For anyone interested in inspiring students and helping them develop their full potential as global citizens.”

                                                         — Library Journal

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