Schooled by Anisha Lakhani (2008) is the tale of Anna Taggert, a recent college graduate who decides to mold the minds of the future by going into teaching in spite of her family's pressure to pursue a more lucrative career. Anna is hired to teach seventh grade English at the fictional Langdon Hall School located on Manhattan's Upper East Side.
Anna is besieged by school administrators who present her with confidential files on each of her students. The files read like a tabloid and Anna has a hard time believing that thirteen-year-olds are capable of doing some of the things their files reveal. Nevertheless, Anna remains undaunted and full of optimism. That is, until she struggles to pay her rent and the myriad other bills that come with living in New York City.
After school one day, Anna runs into one of her students at Starbucks. He becomes uncomfortable when she realizes that he is working on his homework for her class; confused, Anna tries to initiate a conversation with him but is stopped when her colleague, Randi Abrahams, appears and sits beside the student. It is then that a Pandora's box is opened.
Anna soon learns that to not only make ends meet but to afford Hermes, Prada and Chanel, most private school teachers spend their time after the school day tutoring; and by tutoring, Anna learns, they mean doing the work for their high-paying clients. Slowly, Anna breaks into this not-so underground profession which allows her to move into a nicer apartment, buy furniture, go to the fanciest salons (where her students' parents foot the bills), and wear high end couture clothes and accessories. Soon, Anna does not have a moment to spare. That is when she learns Randi's secret to "success;" instead of teaching, she sends her classes to the library. Doing so ensures that she does not have to plan lessons, grade papers or write reports in her free time. As an added bonus, the less she teaches and the fewer assignments she gives, the happier her students' parents are which makes life much more palatable. Anna takes on more and more clients until she finally reaches a breaking point. Tired of writing papers for high school students who should be learning the material themselves, Anna finally snaps, walking out on a client the night before a big paper is due.
In the tradition of Admissions, The Ivy Chronicles, The Nanny Diaries, and The Devil Wears Prada, readers will get a behind-the-scenes look at the life of Manhattan's uber-wealthy and their willingness to stop at nothing to get what they want.
Anisha Lakhani worked at the Dalton School as an English teacher until 2006. She is a graduate of Columbia University, where she received both her B.A. and M.A.