Why Did I Get a B?

And Other Mysteries We're Discussing in the Faculty Lounge

About The Book

This hilarious, inspirational, and wise collection of personal essays and humor from a longtime educator explores all the joys, challenges, and absurdities of being a teacher, following in the footsteps of such classics as Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire, The Courage to Teach, and Up the Down Staircase.

Shannon Reed did not want to be a teacher, but now, after twenty years of working with children from preschool to college, there’s nothing she’d rather be. In essays full of humor, heart, and wit, she illuminates the highs and lows of a job located at the intersection of youth and wisdom. Bringing you into the trenches of this most important and stressful career, she rolls her eyes at ineffectual administrators, weeps with her students when they experience personal tragedies, complains with her colleagues about their ridiculously short lunchbreaks, and presents the parent-teacher conference from the other side of the tiny table.

From dealing with bullies and working with special needs students to explaining the unwritten rules of the teacher’s lounge, Why Did I Get a B? is full of as much humor and heart as the job itself.

About The Author

Photograph by Heather Kresge

Shannon Reed has been a teacher and professor in Western Pennsylvania and New York City for the last twenty years. She’s taught preschool, middle, and high school, and now teaches Creative Writing at the University of Pittsburgh. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, The Washington Post, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and more. Why Did I Get a B? is her first book.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (June 30, 2020)
  • Length: 272 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781982136093

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Raves and Reviews

“This irresistible, compulsively quotable, deeply felt collection will definitely be making the rounds in the teachers’ lounge. A hilarious love letter to the many joys (and occasional heartbreak) of being a teacher in America today.”

– Irina Reyn, professor and author of Mother Country

“This hilarious, very honest, insightful book is perfect for all the teachers in your life, for the parents who complain about their kids’ teachers, and even the students who don't know how lonely and difficult teaching really is."


– Angie Cruz, professor and author of Dominicana

“Smart, witty, and sharply observed. I laughed, I cried, I cringed. But make no mistake—Shannon Reed has written a love letter to teachers. Her cheeky winks and snarky eye-rolls are always buoyed by the understanding that teachers love what they do. They'd have to . . . otherwise they’d never survive the hell we put them through.”


– Siobhan Vivian, professor and New York Times bestselling author of The List

“A hilarious, smart, and painfully honest look at teaching that's also full of heart. Reed isn’t afraid to ridicule the most maddening aspects of the profession, or to admit her own missteps, but she writes about her students and colleagues with a warmth and insight that captures the essence of what education should be. Why Did I Get a B? somehow made me laugh at all the things that frustrate me most about my work as a teacher, while also reminding me why I love it.”   

– Anjali Sachdeva, professor and author of All the Names They Used for God

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