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Monday, April 9, 2018
Books Are Better Than the Lazy Teachers Who Assign Them
deserve a lot of credit for helping to educate a generation and to make our
nation a thinking, literate, empowered, and vibrant one.They often don’t get the thanks they really
deserve and many are underpaid.But
there are some teachers who stink and should hang it up.To all of the English teachers who are
corrupting young minds and turning them off to reading books, screw you!
know who you are, the teacher that uses every possible sick day on top of your
excessive vacations and half-days. The
teacher who is dispassionate and brings a negative vibe to class or a dull
attitude towards learning.The teacher
who thinks about the countdown to spring break, winter recess, summer vacation
and every holiday in between.The one
who would rather gossip about his students or is too lazy to help students and
would sooner pass them just to avoid dealing with problems.The teacher who only teaches to the Common Core
and nothing more, who teaches to the test and not to the curiosities or needs
of the students they are supposed to serve.The teacher who thinks more about retirement than about helping students
prepare for the global economy.
all know bad teachers.They are,
unfortunately, everywhere, regardless of the district, grade, or
public/private.Some are horrific while
others are just bad.But even the
well-intentioned teachers may be doing our kids a disservice with how they
teach English and fail to foster a reading-appreciative culture.
though I became an English major in college, did well in school, and chose a
profession that involves books, I didn’t fully enjoy school when it came to
reading long novels, I felt the assignments were too big, having us read
sometimes dozens of pages a day, alongside other homework. It was hard to keep
more than that, it was hard to appreciate what these classics had to
offer.Sure, I understood 1984 and Lord of the Flies, because they were relatable in some ways for the
teenage soul.But I didn’t fully relate
to Jane Austen, John Milton, or John Keats.I had not lived enough to understand love, war, societal complexities,
or the challenges of age.
are beautiful tools for learning not only about life but how to live it, and yet
too often teachers especially bad ones, turn young readers off.They go too fast.They choose dull books or ones where the
subject matter is too advanced to appreciate.They discuss the book in a way that seems mechanical and
test-driven.They make reading seem like
a boring task rather than an opportunity to live outside ourselves.
here’s to you, lousy teachers, you lazy, incompetent, mind-destroying losers-may
you all quit, get fired, or be run over by an Amazon truckBad teachers are like uninspiring clergy,
untrustworthy police officers, and impatient therapists – they destroy and
limit others when they are trained to help them.
graduated high school over three decades ago but I still think back to teachers
that fell short of the ideal, who taught English class with one eye on the
clock and one foot out the door.It’s
time to change how we teach students and assign reading selections.Otherwise, we risk raising a generation that
can read but chooses things other than books.
“I have never been one to write by rule, not even by my own rules.”
--William Carlos Williams in letter to Richard Eberhart (23 May 1954)
“A writer needs three things, experience, observation, and imagination, any two of which, at times any one of which, can supply the lack of the others.”
--William Faulkner, in interview in Writers at Work (1st series, 1958)
“Creative writers are always greater than the causes that they represent.”
--E.M. Forster, ‘Gide and George’, Two Cheers for Democracy (1951)