Wednesday, February 27, 2008

which came first? the book or the movie? THE BOOK, GOD DAMNIT! PICK IT UP AND READ IT!

i support teachers, i really do. they have a tough job. but sometimes they make it difficult for me to support them. are they trying to make enemies with me? for instance, they are always sending kids in the library for these crazy projects and they tell the kids "the librarian will have a book for you on this!" but they never bother to check if a) a book on this was ever actually written or b) whether or not the library owns said book. for instance, we do not own a book on how tools have affected society. we have books on tools, that show pictures of hammers and screw drivers and describe their uses (we also have books on simple machines and pulleys), but nothing that discusses how society has benefited from tools. do you really need a book on that? can't you just look at a building or a car or a computer or a well-hung shelf to understand the importance of tools? did the teacher even think about this assignment before sending kids off to the library?
and don't even get me started on their antiquated mandatory summer reading lists that contain god knows how many books that are out of print. OUT OF PRINT! do a little research people!
but i digress to the rant at hand ... yesterday the kids come in and they are all excited to tell me about the field trip they went on. where did they go, you ask? well, this is new york city so there is a wealth of educational places to take children to, many of which are free or cheap.
let me list a few, just in case you live in a cave or are from out of town: the museum of natural history, the metropolitan museum of art, the children's museum of manhattan, brooklyn children's museum, new york hall of science, any number of botanical gardens, etc etc.
did my kids go to any of these places on their field trip? no. did they go anywhere remotely educational? no. where did they go? where? they went to the freaking movies. now, i love the movies. i see lots o' movies. but are you telling me that you can't find a better activity for children to MISS SCHOOL for than a trip to the movies?!
well, maybe this isn't so bad. what movie did they see? maybe the movie was somehow educational? maybe it related to black history month somehow? not so. they saw the spiderwick chronicles. ok, i thought to myself, that is at least based on a popular series of children's books. i bet the teacher had them all read the book and then they went to the movie.
so i ask my favorite kid, "favorite kid ... did your teacher have your class read the book before seeing the movie?"
"what book?" my favorite kid asks.
groan. sigh. shed a single tear. "the book the spiderwick chronicles."
"oh," he says excitedly, "they made a book about the movie?"
"NO," i shout, jumping away from my desk to where my spiderwick chronicles book display is, "there is a whole series of books that were written a few years ago and then they were so popular that someone made it into a movie."
then i hand him a book and he looks at it in amazement, as if he has not been surrounded by books every day.
then i gave a quick list of movies that he would know that are actually based on books: the wizard of oz, charlie and the chocolate factory, holes, the chronicles of narnia, harry potter, etc.
"did you teacher even mention that the movie was based on a book?"
"no," he says.
"maybe you should take this book out and show it to her," i say with a little too much attitude. "teach her a thing or two."


*Bitch Cakes* said...

That teacher needs to be smacked in the back of the head with that book.

As a child, we went to museums and the zoo. Never the movies! What kind of lazy bullshit is that?!

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

i know! it is total lazy bullshit!

when i was a kid we went to museums or planetariums or the bronx zoo. one time we went to this place called Safety Town where you learned all the traffic rules and they had a lifesize fake town that you got to ride miniture motorized cars through. i got extra points because i was the only kid to remember to exit my car on the passenger side so as not to open up my car door into traffic. as if anyone in real life does that.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Safety town! I have many fond memories of safety town. Sadly they are all imaginary beacause I NEVER GOT TO GO TO SAFETY TOWN!!
I wanted to go to safety town so effen bad.
PS my favorite assignments involve obscure inventors no one wants to write about.

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

you are truly deprived. i am so sad for you that you never got to go to safety town.
as for obscure inventors, i at least have several books on obscure inventors, so i don't hate that as much as say, oh i don't know ... some desperate mom coming in asking for a book for her first grader on how to make your own space suit (this happened last week).

Anonymous said...

You said, "Well hung." LOL

Librarian4Change said...

If your book is going to be anything like your blog, I want to buy it already!

You're right on target again--ZAP.

About those summer reading your teachers alphabetize them by title instead of author, too?

Miss Dewey Decimal said...

honestly, i have tried to block those hideous lists from my mind. but yeah, i think they are alphabetized by title and not author. i actually don't mind that as much as the fact that most of the books on the list suck. it's sad when you see a kid's face fall and get all ashen when you hand him a book off his summer reading list. that is not the way to instill a lifelong love of reading.