Fires in the Bathroom

Advice for Teachers from High School Students

The acclaimed book of practical advice from students to their teachers

“This chance to hear authentic voices of students should not be overlooked by anyone involved in teen education.” —Publishers Weekly

Since its initial publication in hardcover in 2003, Fires in the Bathroom has been through multiple printings and received the attention of teachers across the country. Now in paperback, Kathleen Cushman’s groundbreaking book offers original insights into teaching teenagers in today’s hard-pressed urban high schools from the point of view of the students themselves. It speaks to both new and established teachers, giving them firsthand information about who their students are and what they need to succeed.

Students from across the country contributed perceptive and pragmatic answers to questions of how teachers can transcend the barriers of adolescent identity and culture to reach the diverse student body in today’s urban schools. With the fresh and often surprising perspectives of youth, they tackle tough issues such as increasing engagement and motivation, teaching difficult academic material, reaching English-language learners, and creating a classroom culture where respect and success go hand in hand.


“In this book, students get a rare opportunity to voice their opinions about what works and what doesn’t in the classroom.”
Los Angeles Times
“[Turns] the tables on adults and tells them how to do their jobs.”
The New York Times
“This book turns the student-teacher relationship upside down. . . . The bits of advice suggest ways to deepen the unspoken bond between students and teachers.”
Chicago Tribune

Books by Kathleen Cushman

Fires in Our Lives
Advice for Teachers from Today’s High School Students

Kathleen Cushman, Kristien Zenkov, Meagan Call-Cummings

Fires in the Middle School Bathroom
Advice for Teachers from Middle Schoolers

Kathleen Cushman, Laura Rogers

Goodreads Reviews