Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

“Of all the teachers in our school, I like Miss Bonkers best. Our teachers are all different, But she’s different-er than the rest.”

My introduction to Dr. Seuss’ final work, Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!, came as I was moving to a new position and putting closure to my time as a teacher in an Essential school. From its nontraditional subject matter (smelling, yelling, listening, and laughing) to a looming high-stakes exam, Diffendoofer School both echoed and shed new light on my experiences. It was the kind of place I wanted for my students and for me. Teachers taught in ways that reached their students-and ultimately, they were rewarded by the outside world. Unique ways of teaching and learning were valued and celebrated, not sacrificed on the altar of standardization. Best of all, the story had a happy ending. The world of school change is filled with politics, nuances and subtleties that can be frustrating and confusing. Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! provides a non-threatening way of entering the conversation (with students and adults) about what a “good” school should be.

reviewed by Laura Thomas

Laura Thomas is the Co-Director of the Coalition Center for Essential School Reform at Antioch New England Graduate School in Keene, New Hampshire.