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Monday, April 9, 2018

Books Are Better Than the Lazy Teachers Who Assign Them




Teachers 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!

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.

We 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.

Even 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 up.

But 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.

Books 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.

So 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 truck  Bad teachers are like uninspiring clergy, untrustworthy police officers, and impatient therapists – they destroy and limit others when they are trained to help them.

I 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)


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Brian Feinblum’s insightful views, provocative opinions, and interesting ideas expressed in this terrific blog are his alone and not that of his employer or anyone else. You can – and should -- follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels much more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2018. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s Independent.  This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. Also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.”

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