NYC Teacher to Possibly Lose Job for Ordering Books for Students

A teacher in Brooklyn is currently in a fight for his career and well-being, but the reason for it is astonishing. He teaches AP English. He assigns Shelley’s Frankenstein to his students. Last year he ordered 102 copies of the book directly from a publisher on his own dime and proceeded to sell the books to students for $2.

I think in this situation it is important to note a few things. He’s been teaching for nearly three decades and he’s won awards for his work. Last year he filed unfair labor charges against his employer for what he calls a dumbed down curriculum.

All of this led to his immediate removal from his classes and placed in an administrative assignment.

I’ve read parts of an interview in which he brings up a valid point. The school says he violated some rule about selling books to students, but no one complained about students having to pay $6 for their copies of Hamlet from the school bookstore. He was providing his students with the books they’d need for class at a financial loss. This guy wasn’t trying to make a few bucks at the expense of his students and their parents. He wasn’t doing anything malicious. He was doing what teachers do by spending his own money for his classroom and students.

I have no idea how this will ultimately play out, but I believe he should be reinstated immediately and any disciplinary action as a result of this particular incident should be wiped from his record as a teacher. My guess is he’ll be fired or a settlement will be negotiated and he’ll go away. I’d love to see him fight it as long as he can.

What do you think of this? A teacher buys more than 100 copies of a book for his students and then gets removed from class.

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A High School Teacher has Students Participate in NaNo

Wait, what?

I just read that a teacher in Virginia at a Catholic school had his students participate in NaNo this month. Their goal was 30,000 words rather than the 50,000 most aim for.

I understand that private schools don’t have to necessarily cover all the same topics as public schools, but I find this to be a bit much. Class time has likely been used for it. And it’s impossible for him to give any kind of substantive feedback with the time crunch.

Obviously he figured this would help them improve their writing skills, but I disagree. Why not instead focus on writing throughout the month? Poetry. Short stories. Maybe a short nonfiction essay? I just don’t think this is the best way to really help high school students improve their writing. And I don’t think it’s a good use of the time he has with them.

What do you think?

Books in School Classrooms

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Photo Credit: Apples for Your Eye

School is just now beginning for most of the country, and with the start of a new school year comes the start of many new careers in teaching. More than 500 new teachers are starting this year in my former school district and many of these new teachers face similar challenges. But one that I’ve happened to see article after article written about is the struggles that come with trying to have a small assortment of books within the classroom. I’m not talking textbooks or workbooks, I’m talking books.  Books for the students to read.

I am fully aware that there are new teachers starting out this year that don’t teach English or ELA at all who may not have as many books in their classrooms, but I can remember just about every elementary school teacher I had having some books in the classroom. And my future English teachers in middle and high school definitely did. But let’s be real, new teachers have limited resources to outfit their classrooms with the proper supplies needed for their students. Especially books. Teachers are now utilizing crowdfunding websites for this specific purpose. Most I’ve read about are attempting to raise $500-$900 for supplies for their classrooms. This is for ALL supplies, but think about how much it would cost just to buy maybe 30 books, which isn’t many.

There’s an organization in my area that provides new teachers with $100 for supplies, but we all know they need a bit more than that. This is where you likely expect me to tell you about a new teacher I know personally who could really use your help this new school year. I’m not going to ask you to give your money away, nor should you feel obligated to do so. But I will say that I think it’s great seeing so many new and longtime teachers going to such lengths to get books in the classroom, because a classroom without books seems inadequate. I would be surprised if you disagree.