"At twenty-two, Dan Brown came to P.S. 85 in the Bronx as an eager, fresh-faced teacher. He had the "teaching gene," he was told, and was even assigned a class of his own: 4-217. Unbeknownst to him, though, 4-217 was the designated dumping ground for all fourth-grade problem cases, and his students would prove to be more challenging than he could ever anticipate. Intent on being a caring, dedicated teacher but confronted with volatile children, absent parents, and a failing administration, Dan was pushed to the limit time and again: he found himself screaming with rage, punching his fist through a blackboard out of sheer frustration, often just wanting to give up and walk away. Teaching took over his life - he couldn't sleep, he lost weight, his relationship with his girlfriend ended." "Yet in this seeming chaos, he gradually learned from his mistakes and from the more seasoned teachers around him, and discovered an unexpected well of inspiration to discipline and teach and to make a difference. He started a Visual Arts Club - the first ever at P.S. 85 - and was able to introduce the practice of photography and film to his students, who were astounded when Dan presented them each with a disposable camera to use on their first project."--Jacket.