The Teachers’ Room by Lydia Stryk

A novice teacher learns many uncomfortable lessons both in and outside of the classroom.


Coming in May 2022

A novice fifth-grade teacher embarks on a clandestine love affair with another teacher, which sets her on the tumultuous path of self-discovery.

The year is 1963, and the times they are a-changin’, though the past still holds its suffocating grip. Karen Murphy, fresh from college, takes on her first teaching job in a small Midwestern town. Despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to stick to the subjects in her school books, helped along by the antics of a girl who upends all her lesson plans. Karen has a lot to learn about the teaching profession, and her female colleagues are there every step of the way to offer their advice, especially the enigmatic fourth-grade teacher, Esther Jonas.

As Karen soon discovers, the idea of the devoted spinster teacher with no life beyond her classroom is a myth—the school is teeming with hidden passions and illicit stories stretching far beyond the classroom, her own explosive passion for Esther Jonas, included. As Esther opens up to Karen about her haunting past, the two women carve out a secret life together. But just as Karen settles into her new life, a shocking betrayal rocks her world.

The Teachers’ Room is a remarkable novel. The presentation of the setting is beautifully evocative, truly recreating an era. And the historical background—1963 in the Midwest, teachers who had to be closeted or risk everything—was such an important and pivotal time in American social history.  But The Teachers’ Room is never dry history. The plot will make the reader keep turning the pages. Most of all, The Teachers’ Room is a wonderful read—engaging, vivid in its depictions, deeply interesting in its characterizations, and very moving.” — Lillian Faderman    

Award-winning playwright LYDIA STRYK was born in DeKalb, Illinois, the birthplace of barbed wire and flying ears of corn. She grew up between DeKalb and London, England, and as a child also lived in Japan where she studied Kabuki and performed on the stage, and in Iran. After high school, she trained at the Drama Centre, London, and pursued an acting career in New York for exactly one year before returning to school to study History, Education, and later, Journalism. Lydia splits her time between New York City and Berlin.

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