It’s Impossible to Teach Without Books

You’ve heard about how we don’t have books. It’s sort of a cliche at this point, but you need to know what it is like to literally not have classroom books. It forces a teacher to create the entire curriculum from scratch. You’re probably thinking that that is great, it’s what they’re paid to do — teach kids. But you’d be incorrect. At least you’d be incorrect in that it robs them of how they teach. Imagine taking a crane away from a construction crew and telling them that now that they have to install the steel beams by hand, now they are really building that building. What teachers really do is that they work as part of their team, be it all the teachers in their grade, with principals, or with a department coordinator (usually a senior teacher in charge of all of one subject like Math for the whole district) and line out what the curriculum will be for the year. Then they purchase a set which aligns with the needs and strategy of the school. These sets include student and teacher books with work and assessments. I want you to understand that doesn’t just make their jobs easier; it makes them possible. Otherwise, you end up doing what my wife does…

For four years, she spent hours, upon hours, upon hours searching the internet either on Pinterest or TeachersPayTeachers (like Etsy but teachers sharing assignments they created) for assignments and modules to allow her to teach some subject she has to teach that week. Note that this means she has to spend her own money for the curriculum, which is not holistic or integrated in any way, but this is what happens when the school doesn’t buy it for you. Then she has to print them off. The only other thing she could do is to literally write a book herself. I’m a professional writer now, and that’s really hard. To do that on top of being a full-time teacher… with a family? You must be joking. Either way, she is still going to have no books to work from other than what she prints out herself. Oh, but wait. There was paper rationing this year, and when all teachers are doing what my wife is doing… that means they have nothing to teach their kids with! Frankly, that paper rationing started a minor revolt this year and the superintendent buckled. #Okteacherproblems.

(Not an endorsement for Drew Edmondson)

This is part of a series on Education in Oklahoma:

Start at the Beginning


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