Fires in Our Lives

Advice for Teachers from Today’s High School Students

A sequel to the classic Fires in the Bathroom that illuminates what adolescents most need from teachers in today’s upsetting times

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

The context in which adolescents are learning has shifted radically since students first offered blunt advice to high school teachers in the groundbreaking Fires in the Bathroom, a perennial bestseller. Now their world is changing at warp speed, and classrooms too are seething with anxiety. This sequel raises the voices of diverse youth around the nation as they live through the mind-bending quandaries of this era and ask their teachers to notice.

In Fires in Our Lives, Kathleen Cushman and her co-authors Kristien Zenkov and Meagan Call-Cummings (both leaders in bringing student voices to teacher education) present new first-person testimony on how today’s youth experience the risks and challenges of high school. The students who speak here need their teachers more than ever as they navigate cultural, social, and political borders in their communities. Reinforced by classroom examples and supplemented with helpful takeaways, Fires in Our Lives offers a compelling dialogue about students’ emotions, ideas, and developing agency.

In a world that sorely needs the thoughtful participation of its rising generation, this new staple belongs on every high school teacher’s bookshelf.