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Rafe Esquith

One of America's Most Celebrated Schoolteachers

One of America's Most Celebrated Schoolteachers

Travels From Travels From:
Los Angeles, CA, USA
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Rafe Esquith Biography

A once-in-a-lifetime educator, Rafe Esquith may be the most inspiring school teacher in America. He's been called "a modern day Thoreau" by Newsday, "a genius and a saint" by The New York Times, and "the most interesting and influential classroom teacher in the country" by The Washington Post. For the past two decades, Esquith has taught fifth graders at a public school in a Los Angeles neighborhood plagued by guns, gangs, and violence. His exceptional classroom at Hobart Elementary - known simply as Room 56 - is unlike any other in the country.

Esquith's students are mostly immigrants or children of immigrants, living in poverty and learning English as a second language. Yet under his tutelage, they voluntarily come to class at 6:30 in the morning and often stay until five in the afternoon. They learn math, reading, and science. But they also play Vivaldi, perform Shakespeare, often score in the top one percent on standardized tests, and go on to attend the best universities. For his near-heroic work, Esquith is the only teacher to be awarded the President's National Medal of the Arts. He has received the National Teacher of the Year Award and won accolades from Oprah, the Queen, and the Dalai Lama. He's also written four books, with his most recent being the critically acclaimed Real Talk for Real Teachers, published in 2013. His other books include Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, There Are No Shortcuts, and Lighting Their Fires. Esquith has also been featured, along with his students, in the PBS documentary The Hobart Shakespeareans.

An upbeat, revitalizing speaker, Rafe Esquith inspires audiences with his personal journey and plea to make students our priority.

Rafe Esquith Speaking Topics

  • Education Reform: The Difficult Truth

    In this talk, education speaker Rafe Esquith, America's most acclaimed public school teacher, gives a valuable • and oddly neglected • insider's perspective on education reform. In order to discuss reform, we need to accept an uncomfortable truth: that teaching has become an incredibly difficult job. Reformers are good people but they tend to oversimplify things. In their reasonable argument to hold teachers accountable, for example, they turn to test scores, which is not reasonable at all. Family, Esquith says, is the biggest, yet most often overlooked, factor in whether children will be good students. Poverty comes in at a close second. Until the reformers factor these issues into their solutions, they won't be successful. "If we want our children to commit to education," he says, "then we have to commit to educating them." With candor, good humor, and a mile-wide practical streak, Esquith offers alternatives and an emotional call • amid the noise, the hype, the politics, and even the anger • to keep the students front and center.

  • Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire

    A joyfully creative and energetic teacher, education speaker Rafe Esquith delivers an unforgettable keynote • an informal state of education address • often accompanied by some of his students. He shares his methods for turning kids on to the wonder of learning, the power of the imagination, and the wealth of finding oneself. He touches on classroom issues (the best techniques for teaching various subjects, how to overcome budgetary constraints) and shows you how • by teaching them hard work, kindness, and the courage to go one's own way • his students have learned to adapt and to prosper in even the toughest of circumstances. Rafe Esquith is an upbeat, revitalizing speaker—a must-see for anyone concerned with the future success of our nation's children.

  • Overcoming the Racial/Economic Divide

    Rafe Esquith teaches at Hobart Elementary School in a Los Angeles neighborhood plagued by poverty and violence. Ninety percent of Hobart's students qualify for free or reduced lunches. Nearly 80 percent of its students are Hispanic immigrants; 18 percent are Asian immigrants; and two percent are black. Few of Hobart's more than 1600 students speak English as a first language. Only 32 percent even finish high school. Hobart is just another example of how economic and racial divides affect tens of millions of people in the United States.

    Yet Rafe Esquith's diverse fifth-grade students overcome language barriers and nonexistent funds to consistently score in the top five to 10 percent of the country in standardized tests and most go on to attend our most prestigious colleges and universities. How do they succeed in this poor and diverse environment? What has Esquith figured out to make this work when most struggle?

  • Real Talk for Real Teachers

    Rafe Esquith shares words of wisdom and advice for those who struggle day to day in the world’s hardest profession. After thirty-plus years in the job, Esquith still puts in the countless classroom hours with which any dedicated educator will be instantly familiar. He recognizes that new teachers and veteran educators need different kinds of nourishment, whether it’s encouragement to see through the difficult early years, advice on midcareer team building, or novel ideas for how longtime educators can put their expertise to work. Mixing his trademark offbeat humor and no-nonsense maxims with instructive stories and useful in-class advice, Esquith proves the perfect companion for those who need a quick pick-me-up, a long heart-to-heart, or just a momentary reminder that they’re not alone. Esquith offers from-the-hip advice to help educators of every stripe cope with the overwhelming challenges in schools and beyond.

Rafe Esquith Videos

  • Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire - Rafe Esquith - YouTube
  • Rafe Esquith's real talk for real teachers - YouTube
  • Rafe Esquith The 6 Levels of Moral Development YouTube - YouTube

Rafe Esquith Books

  • Real Talk for Real Teachers: Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans:
    Real Talk for Real Teachers: Advice for Teachers from Rookies to Veterans: "No Retreat, No Surrender!"

FAQs on booking Rafe Esquith

  • How do I book Rafe Esquith to speak at my event?

    Our experienced booking agents have successfully helped clients around the world secure speakers like Rafe Esquith for speaking engagements, personal appearances, product endorsements, or corporate entertainment since 2002. Click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page to check availability for Rafe Esquith, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to discuss your upcoming event. One of our experienced agents will be happy to help you get speaking fee information and check availability for Rafe Esquith or any other speaker of your choice.
  • What are the speaker fees for Rafe Esquith

    Speaking fees for Rafe Esquith, or any other speakers and celebrities, are determined based on a number of factors and may change without notice. The estimated fees to book Rafe Esquith are for live events and for virtual events. For the most current speaking fee to hire Rafe Esquith, click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536 to speak directly with an experienced booking agent.
  • What topics does Rafe Esquith speak about?

    Rafe Esquith is a keynote speaker and industry expert whose speaking topics include College, Culture, Education, Inspirational, Leadership, Motivational, Parenting, Personal Growth.
  • Where does Rafe Esquith travel from?

    Rafe Esquith generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA, but can be booked for private corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. For more details, please contact an AAE Booking agent.
  • Who is Rafe Esquith’s agent?

    AAE Speakers Bureau has successfully booked keynote speakers like Rafe Esquith for clients worldwide since 2002. As a full-service speaker booking agency, we have access to virtually any speaker or celebrity in the world. Our agents are happy and able to submit an offer to the speaker or celebrity of your choice, letting you benefit from our reputation and long-standing relationships in the industry. Please click the Check Availability button above and complete the form on this page including the details of your event, or call our office at 1.800.698.2536, and one of our agents will assist you to book Rafe Esquith for your next private or corporate function.
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    AAE Speakers Bureau is a full-service speaker booking agency, meaning we can completely manage the speaker’s or celebrity’s engagement with your organization from the time of booking your speaker through the event’s completion. We provide all of the services you need to host Rafe Esquith or any other speaker of your choice, including offer negotiation, contractual assistance, accounting and billing, and event speaker travel and logistics services. When you book a speaker with us, we manage the process of hosting a speaker for you as an extension of your team. Our goal is to give our clients peace of mind and a best-in-class service experience when booking a speaker with us.
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Rafe Esquith is a keynote speaker and industry expert who speaks on a wide range of topics such as Education Reform: The Difficult Truth, Teach Like Your Hair's on Fire, Overcoming the Racial/Economic Divide and Real Talk for Real Teachers. The estimated speaking fee range to book Rafe Esquith for your event is $10,000 - $20,000. Rafe Esquith generally travels from Los Angeles, CA, USA and can be booked for (private) corporate events, personal appearances, keynote speeches, or other performances. Similar motivational celebrity speakers are Erin Gruwell, Victoria Rowell, Hill Harper, Brad Meltzer and Tonya Lewis Lee. Contact All American Speakers for ratings, reviews, videos and information on scheduling Rafe Esquith for an upcoming live or virtual event.

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