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Teachers



Dear Friends
    I know Peter told us enough is enough but my comment comes from my
experience working with teachers in a bookmaking context. I have been
teaching bookmaking workshops in the schools for the past ten years. I
work with both students and teachers, mostly grades K through 6, and I
feel I must speak in the teachers' defense.  I have taught over 2,000
teachers, albeit for short sessions. For example, I just gave a four
hour workshop on Saturday morning on Making Books for Ancient
Civilizations. Granted these are self-selected groups of motivated
teachers, but still... I am always impressed by their enthusiasm. They
are hungry for new material and new ways of teaching, and most
appreciative when they receive it.
   I will say one thing about my teaching program. I never really
mention the word art. I have put bookmaking in the service of the
curriculum and the needs of the teachers. Today with standardized
testing on top of all the other things we are expecting our schools to
do, classroom teachers are under enormous pressure. I want to share with
them what I love and help them in their jobs. I show them how to use
books to make the subject matter come alive. It works. Teachers often
report back to me how making books has improved the quality of the
writing and research of their students. I also do stress that there is
much to be gained from the bookmaking process- listening skills,
following directions, patience, fine motor skills, sequence, and the
boost in self esteem that comes from the act of creation. And this is
all happening while they are having fun. Making books is certainly a
worthy pursuit on its own- it's what I do when I am not teaching- but it
also can be a useful educational tool that teachers appreciate.

in good spirit,
Susan

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord
Newburyport, MA

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