Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Attention Teachers

I was just browsing through Bookslut and ran across this article on the changing face of High School reading lists and lo and behold - a bug crawled up my ass - good times. My gripe would be that over the gazillion of years I've sold books to the public there is undoubtedly a miscommunication between teachers and bookstores, or better, no communication whatsoever! Every year I'd send letters requesting student reading lists so that we could order up on stock. But alas, nary a teacher or administrator saw fit to supply us with a list. So, when a teenager had to find a book on the list all the surrounding bookstores would have one or two copies for 100 teens with money in their pockets. Could that be any more unfair to the student? Or, is it a lesson to the children to be proactive in finding a copy of the book of their choice?

After a few years of letting down confused teenagers "they said I could get it any bookstore!" and pissed off parents "I WILL talk to the teacher about this!", I took it upon myself to make sure we always had a great quantity of the usual, a good chunk of Shakespeare's catalog, the Fitzgerald, Steinbeck and Hemingway. Fortunately, the landscape is changing as the article points out:
"Largely in response to their more ethnically diverse student bodies, high schools in the area are broadening their literature selections to include more contemporary writers, more women and more minorities."

This is awesome in many respects, mostly because the title choices are contemporary bestsellers and bookstores usually have a good quantity AND the student is reading about situations that directly pertain to current events or a global thought virus. But then again, the whole Oedipus thing reaches beyond generations, to the icky point of where attractive teachers want to be mommy/queen, ew.

It's great to see reading lists evolve to cater to specific generations, it's not great when the teacher doesn't make the book readily available and shame on the School Districts for not allocating funds for these books. When I was in school, I never had to buy an additional book for school, that I remember, but then again that was a different time and hell, I was impressed when the Dick and Jane Readers finally had a nice African American family move into the neighborhood, that was our diversity!

Teachers, if the school doesn't supply the books on your specific lists, simply mail the list to ALL of your local bookstores and make sure the books are still in print and easy to find. It's a win/win whenever communication is involved, the students win, no pissed off parents, bookstores get a sale and the teacher can get on with teaching the book to their class. It's easy and no bugs will crawl up your butt.