Adopting a new textbook is a wonderful time in a school family’s life. Just think- you’re seeing this brand new baby curriculum in all its sales pitch glory. Shiny new boxes with video screens. Bags, backpacks, crisp, new books and consumables, online platforms- it’s enough to make any teacher’s head spin!
Look at this one! It plans your year, comes with a script, and communicates with parents for you! No muss, no fuss! And no thinking! No creativity! Your teaching degree, experience, and certifications? Not necessary! We’ve done the work for you!
And this one! It’s a marvel! It’s completely online! What about kids without internet access? What do you mean? I’m not comprehending. Everything is supposed to be digital right? The studies that suggest kids learn better from paper sources? Witchcraft and sorcery! Technology is more important! Wave of the future and all that.
This one is aligned to 86% of the standards! What about the other 14%? Well, those aren’t really that important, are they? And they can’t test those anyway, so why bother?
Aaaannnnddd, you’re stuck with this new creature for eight years. That’s right- figure out you’ve made a bad choice, and the shiny thing dulls immediately on delivery- well, it’s too late now!
Okay, so I’m sure you’ve figured out that we just went through this process. It is such an eye-opener. We have a primary campus, and intermediate campus, and a middle school. We are a small charter school, and those three schools are our “district”. You’d think we would have some sort of meeting of the minds to vertically align, or at least talk to each other at some point, right? NOPE! It’s a free-for-all! Each campus ordered from a different publisher. That sounds normal, right?
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want what they have, and they probably hate what we got, so it’s a good thing our district didn’t make a party line decision for us. It’s just that, after the thrill of spending thousands of dollars wore off, I realized that we aren’t any closer to being on the same page.
Maybe this is normal for most districts. I just thought that maybe we would be able to be different because we are such a small organization. However, our schools firmly believe in teacher autonomy, so we have more free rein than most. The middle school didn’t adopt from a big-box company. We went with a smaller one that offers more supplemental materials that we can work into what we already do. Consumables, grammar, vocabulary, and novels- that’s what we got, and we are pretty happy. We also made the decision to go with a four year adoption so that we could make sure it was worthwhile before investing too much at once. We’re frugal like that. 🙂
I guess time will tell if we made the right decision. Heck, our state is implementing new ELAR standards next year, and there is so much in the news about how crappy our state test is that we could be scrapping it in a couple years anyway.
I guess we just roll the dice and hope for the best. Either way, we were good teachers before the adoption, and we will be good teachers after. Don’t get caught up in the hype! Trust your education, experience, and gut. Those are more valuable than any big-box they can offer you.