Monday, September 6, 2010

MSRL: Back To School - Lessons To Be Learned

As the summer comes to a close, I find myself gearing up for the "Back To School" season. Back To School is my favorite time of year. I also work in Higher Education and there is just something about welcoming the students back to campus and gearing up for a new year of learning that I really love and appreciate.

Another reason Back To School is so exciting for me this year is because I have decided to go back to school as well.  I'm recently became enrolled in a Post-Bac program for a Teaching Certificate.  My goal is to teach High School Language Arts as I transition into my "next career". Writing and communicating well are of the utmost importance in our society, yet it seems to be taking a hit at the expense our students skills, or lack thereof and it's becoming evident in all that they do, from text messages, to emails, to social media, to their research papers and how they communicate with professors and other administrators on campus. If I can make a difference in the writing life of a child, then that's what I hope to do for the long term.

The classes I'm taking are Education Foundations and Literary Studies.  Both of the books for these classes are rather good and informative and I will share them here:

Literature and Its Writers (5th Edition) is by Ann and Samuel Charters. It's a book full of short stories, poetry, and some drama by some of our most prolific writers. This class is refreshing because I get to re-visit some of the authors whose writing I got the chance to get to know during my undergraduate years at Kent State University.  Also, I get to read authors who I have never heard of  before and so far, I love the writing various writing style of authors likeErnest Hemingway, Russell Banks, and Junot Diaz.

My other book is Becoming A Teacher by Parkay and Stanford.  It's a very imformative and eye-opening book and is perfect for first time teachers. It provides the ins and outs of a beginning teacher's life and provides anecdotes and examples of what it means to be a good teacher and a bad teacher, and it's easy to read.

What I will say is that taking classes hasn't changed much, however, what has changed is the price of books and the knowledge of technology that is required to keep up on classes today. I'm starting to feel sorry for some of the students who say they can't afford the books. I used to think they were kidding or just didn't want to spend the money, but it's a real issue.  There are students who have paid upwards to $1000 for books just for this fall semester alone.  I actually "rented" my books, which is a new phenonmenon, from www.Bookrenters.com, where you can "rent" a book for 30, 60, 90 days, or for the whole semester, and you can "rent to buy", just like a piece of furniture. And by the time some of these students get done with paying for books, they will feel like they just purchased a whole bedroom set.  The only downfall to buying "used" or "renting" books, is that you may miss out on the "tech" extras that are attached to many classes nowadays.  For instance, I "rented" Becoming A Teacher for about $30 for 60 days (I play to rent to own). Well, since I got a used copy, the book was lacking the special "code" that I need to access the "myeducationlab" component of the course. No need to worry though, the publishing company has a code available for those of us who thought we could get around paying full price. Yes, for a small fee of $30 more, we can buy an access code and get into the site and be cool like the rest of the kids in class.  So, really, even if you buy used or rent a book, somehow, someway, you will end up paying extra for something.  Buying Used Books used to be the way to go, but now, it's pretty tricky.  I really think that students need to start a "No More Expensive Textbooks" Movement.  There are textbooks that cost over $100 per book in many majors like business and science.  This has got to stop. These companies, like those who produce these textbooks year after year who are usually in cahoots with professors to "upgrade" to the next addition, shouldn't be able to take advantage of students.  What they do is almost akin to what these "payday loan" companies do and when students go to "sell" their books back to the bookstore, they only end up getting a few bucks, compared to the hundreds that they paid in the first place.

So, as a future teacher, as I move through my coursework,  I hope to try my best to keep my costs as low as possible on every book that I buy, but to also be able to, as a future teacher, educate my students to think critically for themselves and to be able to understand when to stand up for yourself and how to communicate your needs to get the change that you want in the world.

Have a Great School Year Everyone!

Kellea
editor
my summer reading list