If you’ve been in my presence lately (on the interwebz or otherwise), you’re probably sick of the words “Book Fair”. I was the chairperson for the book fair at my son’s preschool and it’s been all-consuming the last few weeks.
Well, last week was the big show–the book fair was on. And I’d say it was successful. We raised money for our school. Kids and parents had easy access to books. Teachers got books for their classroom. It was a win for literacy (which is a win for us all).
But what struck me, more than a very strong hope that my books one day end up at a book fair, was just how awesome teachers are. As if you didn’t already know. And I promise, outside of this sentence, to not go on a tirade about how they deserve every dime they make (and more!!!) and we really need legislators who will stand up for them.
1.) Teachers Love Books
I have never heard other people (outside of librarians and writers) absolutely squee over books the way I heard every teacher who walked into the fair squee over books. It was so exciting. They walked to every display, opened all the covers, flipped through the pages, and “ahh’d” over every single one. Trust me when I say–if you write children’s books, start befriending teachers. They are your cheerleaders. Not only that, but they are champions for literacy. If you need a book recommendation for your child, ask his or her teacher.
2.) Teachers Are Selfless About Books
I’m going to go out on a limb here, but if you work in Corporate America (or even in an office that isn’t corporate), my guess is you don’t have to pay for your own office supplies. I didn’t when I worked in an office. Yet teachers sometimes do just that. Can you imagine needing something to do your job correctly and footing the bill yourself? It wouldn’t fly, would it? But all the teachers I saw coming into the fair purchased books for their classrooms with their own money. And these were picture books, folks. Chances are, they aren’t just reading them for pleasure (though some of them are so beautiful they could). That’s selflessness there. They see something so perfect to help teach our kids what they need to know, and they buy it themselves if necessary.
(To be fair: Parents did donate books to the classrooms. And the teachers had credit from Scholastic to use as well, but paid with their own cash when they wanted something that took them over budget. But still. Above and beyond.)
3.) Teachers See Books As Tools and Are Creative About Using Them
Want to see the master at work? See her cogs turning? Take a teacher to a book fair. She’ll open up the book Ten Gingerbread Men and she’ll see how the gingerbread men are tactile. She’ll start planning a lesson right there at the display. She can teach numbers. And counting. And about the winter season. And the holiday season. It has a sensory element. She thinks about what art projects will correlate with it. How the book could be translated into Spanish. How a special needs child will respond to it. And suddenly the thing you thought was just a cute little story turns into something amazing.
There are so many other reasons that teachers (and social workers and school psychologists) are awesome. But those are just a few I observed first hand while working at the book fair. Do me a favor. If you see a teacher today–give him or her a hug. They deserve it.